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      Paramedic education program receives national accreditation

      A partnership between Blessing Hospital and John Wood Community College now has national accreditation.

      The paramedic program is one of six paramedic education programs in the state of Illinois that holds that honor.

      "When I was looking for a program, I wanted a program that I knew was going to prepare me for testing at the national registry level," Monroe City paramedic and former John Wood student Russell Flick said.

      In Missouri, you have to test at national registry to get your licensure.

      "I needed a program that would prepare me for that because their standards are very high," Flick said.

      The education program has to meet the standards of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs upon the recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of Educational programs for the Emergency Medical Services Profession.

      "We think the future of paramedicine and EMS in general is going that direction. In order for paramedics to be recognized for their profession like nurses are, they need to have that consistent education at the college level," Program director Sandy Behl said.

      The program requires the students to have 280 hours of ambulance field internships along with 260 hours of hospital clinicals.

      Adams County Paramedic Dave Norvell said, "The nursing staff at Blessing, we gained a lot of knowledge from them when we go through our clinical setting. The paramedics and field evaluators with the Adams County Ambulance also have a big hand in our training."

      "As I transition into the paramedic field myself, I feel prepared and ready to step out in the role and be a paramedic," Flick said.

      Starting January 1st, paramedic students applying to take the National Registry Examination must be graduates of a nationally accredited program.