Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell EMS program in conjunction with the University of New Mexico EMS Academy has taken the leadership role in New Mexico to develop and implement a new Community Paramedic curriculum for the state.
The Community Paramedic responds to identified health needs in underserved communities, ultimately improving the quality of life and health of rural and remote citizens and visitors or those without ready access to primary care. Roles include outreach; wellness; health screening assessments,; health teaching; providing immunizations; disease management, including a thorough understanding of monitoring diabetes, congestive heart failure and other high cost diseases and the methods and medications used to treat them; recognition of mental health issues and referral into the existing mental health care system; wound care; safety programs; and, eventually functioning as physician extenders in rural clinics and hospitals in communities that have them.
This course of student is a 20 credit hour Certificate program consisting of approximately 200 hours didactic and laboratory instruction, and 200 hours of clinical practicum. The didactic instruction is delivered online via BlackBoard. Lessons will be video lecture, reading assignment, discussion interaction, case studied, and periodic cognitive assessments. The laboratory time will consist of physician and mid-level providers conducting labs on physical assessment, lab values, and standardized patients. Lab sessions will be held in Roswell or other approved locations for approximately three-6 hour sessions. Students will go through various clinical settings (primary care, public health, urgent care, home nursing, behavioral units, and dental clinics) for the Clinical Practicum portion of the program. At the conclusion of all courses, students will be expected to successfully complete final written exam, standardized patient assessment, and peer evaluated case presentation. Upon successful completion students will received a Course Completion Certificate. Students who complete the Community Paramedic Program are eligible to receive an Association of Science in Community Paramedic once all general education is completed.
EMS has migrated from pre-hospital emergency medical care to emergency medical care at any point in the health care continuum including prevention and rehabilitation. The community paramedic program provides physician ordered follow-up care. EMS providers have the training, scope of practice, and expertise to provide essential follow-up care based on the direction of the primary care physician. The program is also designed to provide care proactively instead of reactively. It can also enhance health care disparities in rural settings and decreases overall health care costs.
Successful community paramedic programs have demonstrated that patients can receive earlier hospital discharges due to the physician oversight. It can decrease the family’s financial and emotional stress as patients remain independent longer and remain in their home before transitioning to an assisted living facility.
The goals of ENMU-Roswell’s Community Paramedic Programs are to improve patient outcomes and continuum of care by decreasing hospital readmission rates, overall cost of health care, and non-essential emergency department visits.