TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — An Emergency Medical Service camp is working to combat the nursing shortage issue in Tippecanoe and surrounding counties. The camp’s target audience is high schoolers.
“We're actually going to teach them every skill that an EMT would actually have to know and be tested on to actually pass and get a certificate,” said Nathaniel Metz, CEO of Phoenix Paramedic Solutions.
Phoenix Paramedic Solutions is a Lafayette-based EMS Agency. This year marks its 5th annual Discovery EMS Camp. It's taking place at Oakland High School from 10 - 4 p.m. Jun 24 - 28.
Metz said this camp is more crucial now than ever.
“There's a drastic shortage right now of paramedics and EMT's in the state and in the country,” said Metz. “Particularly in our communities, particularly rural communities and even though Lafayette is a little bit urban, it's not Indianapolis and it's not Lake County.”
As high schoolers become curious about their future careers, this camp was created to spark an interest in EMS.
“EMT's don't grow on trees and a lot of individuals particularly whenever they're thinking about going into health care don't ever consider EMS as a career path,” said Metz.
Working as an EMT wasn’t always a career choice for Brenda Cardenas. As a Discovery EMS camp graduate to now current EMS worker Cardenas said this camp opened her eyes to a new career option.
“It gave me a look into what EMS is and then it just, it was a small look into a bigger world type deal,” said Cardenas
She said the skills she learned as a camper has been beneficial to what she does in the real world.
“These skills are the prime basic skills for any health care professional,” said Cardenas. “Here we teach you how to put on gloves or take vital signs and just the proper lifting techniques and things like that.”
One Discovery EMS camper said it's a camp that welcomes everyone.
“If you're looking to go into anything medical or if you're not even sure what to do, I highly recommend it. All of the people here are super nice,” said student camper Halona Kendall.
This camp is free for the high schoolers. Since the camp's launch 5 years ago, 30% of its students have gone on to pursue a career in EMS or further their EMS training.
Phoenix Paramedic Solutions is looking into exact numbers of how short EMS staff is in Tippecanoe and surrounding counties.