Bergen’s Paramedic Program Responds to Need

The $26 million Health Professions Integrated Teaching Center is due to open on Paramus soil in 2016. However, the question remains as to how many medical programs are being unveiled, thanks to the recent federal grant of $15 million, a growth in health professions may occur. One such profession that has risen, is the new paramedic science program that students can take under the Applied Science degree.

Bergen Community College, well known for it's two-year degree programs, will now also include the education of paramedics. On October 7, 2014, paramedic science Director Jennifer McCarthy, President Kaye B. Walter, Dean of Health Professions Susan Barnard, and Board of Trustees Chair E. Carter Corriston held a ceremony for the program.

"Coupled with the Health Professions Integrated Teaching Center scheduled to open in 2016," Chair Corriston said, "the paramedic science program once again reflects the College's dedication to workforce development and serving the needs of area residents."

The paramedic science program will provide education and experience, as the program aims to integrate students and current medical technicians into the workforce. The program will include a simulated residential apartment to work as a simulations lab and an emergency department receiving area. The ambulance will mainly be for class instructions and only be used to training people in the program to handle a situation when it arises. Students have already started classes on September 2, 2014, and will remain for one year, until they are ready to graduate from the program.

"There is a faculty already set up and a group of students are already enrolled in the program," Director of Public Relations, Larry Hlavenka said. He continued, "The program is located in the Meadowlands campus." Dr. William Mullaney, Vice President of Academic Affairs said, via email, "In addition, adjunct faculty members were also hired to teach in the program. Combined the faculty has over 200 years of experience."

The school hired Professor Jennifer McCarthy with the role of Program Director/Associate Professor. Professor Joanne Piccininni was hired to be the Clinical Coordinator for the program.

Hlavenka stated via email, "The $15 million federal grant will support the creation of a healthcare career pathways system among 12 community colleges - with Bergen serving as the lead. While the grant will not directly support the paramedic science program, it will enable the College to provide resources that help solidify its standing as the region's leader in healthcare education, which benefits all of its renowned health professions programs."

Although, the paramedic science program helps invigorate and educate students to a working environment, there are a few requirements necessary to be incorporated into the program. Dr. Mullaney, had this to say on the matter, "There are a few different requirements for acceptance into the program. All prospective students must currently be a certified NJ EMT. Academic requirements include completion of 26 credits of general education credits and successful completion of the HESI admissions test. Lastly, prospective students must successfully complete an EMT skills audit."

According to Dr. Mullaney, "All of the general education credits will transfer and depending on the field of study, students may be able to use the paramedic science core courses towards their bachelor degree." The program holds an estimate of 30 students and will have that amount each year.