1. #26
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    Default Letters, calls, complaints, and great thoughts from readers....:

    Here's some more interesting tid-bits.....

    I spoke several times to Senator Chris Lauzen (R-Dist 25). He's been very interested in this. At one point, he was unhappy with me because I told him that the cost for the NR test was over 5 times the cost of the state test. IDPH told him, nonsense, it's only $50 ($10 more than state). So, obviously he was not happy that I had given him incorrect information, and he turned around and ripped on IDPH. But when they talked to him, they neglected to mention those pesky practical exam fees......

    I've gotten a couple of calls from the Aurora paper (not real sure how they got a hold of this, but...). I explained how this will negatively impact us, even if the state decides to (has decided to? nobody really knows the truth yet) go back to their own testing. I also forwarded the reporter a letter that the IFCA sent to Dr. Whitaker about this. The reporters ears perked up when I told her that it wasn't just the small volly departments that'll get gobbed up by this; the bigger towns are gonna get pinched, too. She called downstate and was told that "they" have added fourteen sites for testing (one in each region and two extra in Peoria.) Uh, okay. But those sites still need to have NR people to run the tests. And there still ain't no tests scheduled for next year, at least not according to the NR site (www.nremt.org). And the reporter called the NR and they told her they've only received ONE request for additional sites in Illinois.

    This thing just gets curiouser and curiouser......
    Last edited by jaybird210; 07-19-2004 at 06:14 PM.

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    Interesting text of an email that came down through the state-wide MABAS tree. It had the letter from IFCA attached:


    As most of you are aware, IDPH has been trying to get out of the EMT testing process. They have been meeting with the National Registry of EMTs since January 2004 in an attempt to broker a deal where IDPH no longer offers a State Exam and the National Registry in essence becomes the State Exam. The IFCA EMS Committee is opposed to this action and they recommended the IFCA Executive Board to oppose any such action by IDPH.

    On June 10, 2004 IDPH offered this exact proposal as the State EMS Advisory Board Meeting in Springfield. It met with opposition from the Medical Directors, the IAFF and the EMS Advisory Council. Representative Don Moffitt from Galesburg addressed his concerns about IDPH’s plan and asked them to reconsider. The EMS Advisory Council voted to oppose the National Registry and offered alternatives. (See process proposal). The EMS Advisory Council authorized the formation of an EMS Education Committee that will formulate the State Exams.

    IDPH put out a memo to the EMS Systems stating that IDPH wasn’t administering any State EMT exams and EMS systems should contact the National Registry if an exam testing was needed. The memo went on to say that this arrangement was going to continue only until new State Exams were developed.

    The IFCA wrote Dr. Whitaker a letter of opposition to this plan and asked to halt the moratorium placed on testing until we could meet with IDPH staff and attempt to rectify the situation. IDPH hasn’t responded to this request but there is a meeting set for July 20th with IDPH. IFCA will inform our membership of the results of this meeting. Thank you for all of your assistance in sending letters to your State legislators concerning this issue.


    Mike Hansen
    Lincolnwood Fire Department
    6900 N Lincoln Avenue
    Lincolnwood, IL 60712-2606

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    I have one question.....
    With everyone having to take the NREMT test and the chance of that being all that IL offers, are they going to grandfather the current IL EMT's or make them take the NREMT test? I have heard rumors for a couple years now that the state was going to get rid of the state test and go to the national test and then grandfather EMT's that have had their license for more than 4 years. Anyone heard anything about this? Thanks Lil Yogi

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    What is the current status of the testing? Any idea on a time frame?

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    Default I love IDPH.

    With everyone having to take the NREMT test and the chance of that being all that IL offers, are they going to grandfather the current IL EMT's or make them take the NREMT test? I have heard rumors for a couple years now that the state was going to get rid of the state test and go to the national test and then grandfather EMT's that have had their license for more than 4 years. Anyone heard anything about this?
    What is the current status of the testing? Any idea on a time frame?
    All of these questions can be answered the same: Don't know; haven't gotten a straight answer out of anybody.

    I talked the the reporter from the Aurora paper several times in the last week. IDPH is telling her a different story from what we are. However, she told me the last two times she called Springfield, she was referred to our local EMS Regional Coordinator. Wanna know what the IDPH Regional Coordinator told her? "I can't talk to you about this."

    The latest "official" word that I have gotten via email through our EMS System is that IDPH has already assembled a committee to write the tests, and that they have already agreed on content. The goal was to have tests written by the end of August. I am skeptical. Not that it isn't possible, because it surely is; just that I don't trust IDPH to do what they say and mean what they do.

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    From Sunday's Aurora Beacon-News:
    Area towns feel impact from loss of EMTs, paramedics

    As state cancels test, students left with few alternatives

    By Angela Fornelli
    STAFF WRITER

    AURORA — Marci Ramsey is one test away from reaching her long-time goal of becoming a licensed paramedic in Hinckley, but she has to put that dream on hold for a while.

    Because cheating on the exam was discovered in Chicago, the state test for EMT and paramedic licensing is unavailable until new versions are created. That leaves Ramsey and other students across the state with the options of waiting until the new test is complete or taking a national exam — which may not be available in Illinois and might cost more than the state test.

    That means fire departments — which fund the education of their employees — will have to continue without the EMTs and paramedics they planned to add to their ranks or pay more for them to take a national test.

    For some local departments, the burden falls on current paramedics, who will have to work overtime or cover more shifts until the new employees become certified.

    The decision to create new versions of the test came after students at the Chicago Fire Academy were alleged to have copies of old exams last October, said Leslee Stein-Spencer, chief of emergency medical services for the Department of Public Health.

    "We don't have a test data bank that allows us to change exams often," Stein-Spencer said, adding that a committee hopes to complete new questions by the end of August. The test would become available shortly after, but there are no guarantees when the exam will be completed, she said.

    One of the biggest problems facing students is finding a place in Illinois to take the national test. Stein-Spencer said, in anticipation of the moratorium on the state test, the department arranged in early July for 14 new testing locations in Illinois through the national testing company, National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.

    But officials at the national registry said they have received only one request for a new testing site.

    The company Web site shows three available exam locations in Illinois for 2004.

    "They cannot possibly accommodate all of the students that need to test," Ramsey said.

    The lack of locations — and of available spots at those locations — is forcing students to consider taking the test in nearby states, adding costs for their departments.

    Illinois offers reciprocity, so passing the test in another state would allow someone's license to be valid in Illinois, Stein-Spencer said.

    She said they do not have records of how many students were registered to take the state test this year. But 23 students who took classes at Delnor Community Hospital in Geneva and at least 15 from Kishwaukee Community college in DeKalb were expecting to take the test in August.

    Ramsey, who is an EMT with the Hinckley Fire Department and was training at Kishwaukee to become a paramedic, said the only test in Illinois she qualifies to take is in December and has limited spots available.

    "I find it frustrating that the state of Illinois would send its students out of state and leave everyone here in the state in limbo because of a select few who compromised the test," Ramsey said.

    Small towns in the area are expected to feel the largest impact from the situation because they depend on volunteers and therefore need more staff to fill spots when others are unavailable.

    Jay Van Landuyt, Hinckley fire chief, said his department was funding two volunteers to become paramedics. Without them, the six current volunteer paramedics will have to cover more shifts, he said.

    Small departments like Hinckley also have smaller tax bases from which to draw funds to pay for the national test, which could cost more than the state test, Van Landuyt said.

    The national test costs $50 — only $10 more than the state test — but with added costs of travel and accommodation, plus a highly recommended pretest, sending employees to the national registry exam could cost more than $300, Van Landuyt said.

    Richard Kell, fire chief for Sandwich, said his volunteer department also will be burdened.

    "When you're operating with volunteers, one person is a big thing," he said. "The cost in delays in getting people operating is going to affect a lot of communities."

    Van Landuyt said towns like Oswego, Geneva, Yorkville and Sugar Grove also will see an impact from the lack of paramedics and EMTs because, "as they continue to grow, they need to increase staffing."

    Steve Olson, Geneva fire chief, was counting on three students to become certified paramedics this fall.

    "We had been gearing up for that, and now, it's on hold for the moment," he said.

    The Illinois Fire Chiefs Association and several area fire chiefs have shown concern about the use of the national registry test instead of the state exam.

    Wayne Stevens, assistant fire chief in Elburn, said the national test is based on national curriculum that is sometimes irrelevent in Illinois and that it is more difficult to pass than the state test.

    "They have a 50 to 60 percent failure rate," Stevens said. "If I'm going to send somebody to school for a year, and they take the test and don't pass it, then what am I going to do?"

    Stevens said his department has two paramedics in class now at Delnor and was planning to begin training 12 new EMTs in August.

    "It places an added burden on the department," he said, "because of the added expense in sending people to take the test."

    Tim Schmitz, state representative from Batavia who is also an EMT, last week wrote a house resolution urging the Health Department to develop new EMT exams as soon as possible.

    "For the state to change midstream and have people fail, then you are not going to have paramedics and EMTs," Schmitz said. "From the big city all the way down to volunteer departments . . . all are very concerned about what is going to happen."
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    Unhappy

    The more I hear of this ...............the iller it makes me. But dude you are in the paper !And it appears that at least you may have to travel........but at least they will recognize NR no matter where it is taken.
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    I guess that some no longer study and learn and then take tests to verify what we have retained. We no longer take tests to measure our knowledge or motivate us to do better. We no longer take tests to validate our achievement of mastering subject matter in a chosen discipline. So then, what do we do?
    Well, in Chicago, you take a COPY of the test so you can cheat your way to keeping your job or in getting a job. You don't take a test in Chicago to measure your retention of the subject matter; you steal a copy of the test, so you can cheat your way to a bump in rank or pay. You can't do the right thing and study and devote time to mastering life saving skills. You can't do that and work the trades on your days off. You can't be honest and succeed in Chicago, I guess.
    I have a novel idea; find out who got their hands on that test and make certain that they never work again. Keep the test that we have and change 30% of the questions, because you have to pass with an 80%, don't you? Only change enough questions to change the possible outcome. And then require that everyone in Chicago who took the test in the past two years to take it again.
    I think that they could narrow down how Chicago got a copy of the test. Namely; there are only certain people who can see the test before it is administered. Let's see; who could that be?
    OSFM; if you're reading this, think about this: who is allowed to view the test before it is administered to the students? It was they or someone in the IDPH. It's not rocket science. I believe that the list of suspects would be a very short list and I would work until the culprits are caught and PUNISHED. This is shameful and a black eye to everyone who has ever studied to be an EMT and honestly took and passed the state test. Make those guilty pay and pay dearly.
    Don't sweep this under the rug. Investigate this to a conclusion and then insure that it never happens again.
    There; I'm done. No; wait. I have one more point.
    To my many friends in the Chicago area who came by their credentials the old fashion way; you have a few among you who are nothing more than criminals and thieves. Find them and get them out. You will all suffer from their criminal acts. Don't let them destroy the long history of honorable service by the many who came before you and bring dishonor to those currently serving. They don't deserve your support.
    Now; I'm done.
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    Lightbulb Don't forget your volunteers!

    In reading all of these threads, I must add a side for volunteers. I'm in a combination dept, and many around us are volunteer only. It's hard enough for these people to keep up on the EMT-B CEU's and mandatory education per year, but now you've got departments with little or no cash who somehow have to "con" people into investing into volunteering to get up at 2AM to take a rectal bleed to the hospital. Getting advanced providers in this setting will now be virtually impossible. I'm an advocate for B's at the rural level, with one or two paid ALS services for intercepts. It's bad enough if you only have 1,000 calls per year and intubate or pace on maybe a dozen. That kind of takes me to the comments on B's intubating. They won't have enough opportunity on a real patient in the rural setting, so with a tiered system it should work. But again, where's the $$$????

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    You can't be honest and succeed in Chicago, I guess.
    Art, please don't tell me you were naiive enough to have just now come to this conclusioin. Anybody who has lived in the Chicago area for any length of time knows how much truth there is in this statement.
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    Well, I didn't want to stereotype. There are some good, honest and hard-working folks in Chicago that are taking it on the chin for a couple of scumbags who felt that they couldn't pass a test unless they could cheat. It makes me sick to think that there are people who would cheat on a test that measures your medical knowledge and life-saving skills. I would be curious to know how they intended to get through the practicals. Body double, perhaps? Call in sick? Or get a pass from the same person that stole a copy of the test?
    Hmmmmmmmmmm. Me thinks there was a conspiracy.
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    Anyone heard of any new news regarding the status of the Paramedic test?

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    The current story is this:

    The test was supposed to be ready mid-September (I think today is the 20th. There are 30 days in September so middle of 30 is 15.....) Anyway, supposedly, the test has to go to someone at U of I to verify and then the test will go out.

    I heard an interesting little tidbit this weekend: According to a neighboring department, Southern Fox Valley EMSS is supposed to get the test first, and depending on how those students do, the test will be opened-up to the rest of the state. This is a rumor, and I find it rather difficult to believe.

    On a related note, I have a memo that Leslie Stein-Spencer, who has been in charge of the EMS division of IDPH for 18 years, effective Oct 15. I dunno if these issues are related or not. I have heard that Dr. Whittaker is a monster to work with. Don't know if that's true or not.
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    On a related note, I have a memo that Leslie Stein-Spencer, who has been in charge of the EMS division of IDPH for 18 years, effective Oct 15. I dunno if these issues are related or not. I have heard that Dr. Whittaker is a monster to work with. Don't know if that's true or not.
    Jay; is she staying or leaving?
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    D'OH!!

    Sorry 'bout that Art!

    It should read as follows:

    On a related note, I have a memo that Leslie Stein-Spencer, who has been in charge of the EMS division of IDPH for 18 years, is resigning effective Oct 15.
    That'll happen when you flip back and forth between the memo and FH. Now I know how John Kerry feels!!!
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    I'm glad they're getting a test ready. 3 of my guys are in a basic class that'll be done in January so they should have a state test to take. DJ is one of them and he actually likes the EMS stuff. Surprises me cause he's never even wanted to take a 1st Responder class.
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    I hope they decide on a Paramedic test soon. I have completed the class, finished the 250 hours of ride time, and knocked out the 200 hours of clinicals. Now I just have to wait for the state.

    and

    wait

    wait

    wait

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    Default EMT test

    i took my emtb class in jan-may 2004 and i compleated it. unfortunatly i was out of state all summer and didnt get to take my test at all. i have read all of this and am very confused, so i was wondering if anyone knows if there are tests to take so that i can get liscenced. thanks all, gene

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    Talking Hello

    Hello!

    Please don't think I'm nuts, but I like the idea of a 2 yr. paramedic course. I also support kepping a state exam, just changing it. Although they probably should have had it set up before discontinuing the last one. I would like to take my NR does anyone know where and when there will be one held; I already have my IL EMT-B license.

    i just read this thread tonight, and someone mentioned parameic classes being ofered, way back in July. Are there any I can still apply to? If so where and when? I'm having difficulties locating information; also information on testing for fire deprtments (vounteer welcome) any information would be appreciated.

    All my thanks. Future Firefighter/Paramedic (if i can find info)

    jorie7-19@sbcglobal.net


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    Jorie-

    Hmmm, where to start....?

    First off, there's a lot of problems with the idea of a two-year medic class. Most of them involve cost. It costs a fire department somewhere around $17,000 to send a full-time firefighter to medic class. That covers his pay while in class, pay while doing clinical time, pay for covers while he is in class when he would normally be on shift. If it goes to two years, obviously that cost will double. How many other professions have that kind of a training cost? Add more to that if the person hired off the street needs to go to a fire academy.

    Now, just so you don't think I'm all about money, let me 'splain to you my thinking on the current curriculum. Somewhere in these forums, and it might have been in this thread, I talk about the current curriculum and how some of the material is just downright silly. I know that there are courses out there having classes just to "fill hours." My problem with this line of action is this: the DOT sets the curriculum as a minimum. They say, "X number of hours shall be spent teaching cardiology and electrophysiology." (Or words to that effect). So the paramedic programs get their Brady or Mosby books out and teach ECG interpretation and so forth. Usually this is the longest part of the class (I believe I spent 6 weeks out of a 9 month course on this topic). I just took a 12-lead interpretation class yesterday, and learned more in those 8 hours than in the six weeks in medic class. Plus any con ed since then. Why aren't these program TEACHING US WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW? Because they are teaching us to pass a test. A test that some bureaucrat wrote who either has never been in an ambulance, or hasn't been in one in 15 years. Add another year to the program, and all you are going to do is add another year of wasted time. Get me out on the street and taking the seminars that will actually teach me what I need to know tho serve the public. 'Cause the current curriculum ain't worth a crap.

    Now, as for getting in a class, where are you? I'm up north, west of Chicago. I can give you some contact numbers, but all of the classes, to my knowledge, are full and started.

    As for getting on a department, again, this will depend on where you are. There is a company called "Fire Hire" that, for $20 or some such fee, will send you notifications of departments that are testing. Volunteer departments generally require that you reside in their service area to join (we do).
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    Jay:
    I spoke with Don Moffitt two weeks ago about this issue and he assures me that he is still poking this big dog with a stick.
    I can assure you that, now that it has been brought to his attention, he will pursue state EMS with the same enthusiasm and focus that he has with the state's fire service. I can almost guarantee that there will be more and much needed oversight at this runaway train known as IDPH.
    IMHO.
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    Oh; I almost forgot:
    Jorie. Welcome to the most popular state thread at Firehouse.com.
    jbozcek is our Illinois chapter president. 80FIRE is the vice president. I can't remember who the sergeant-at-arms is, but we don't need a cop, because we play nice...most of the time.
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    Art;

    The latest scuttle-butt I've heard is that most of the experienced regional people are resigning (I know our regional coordinator is leaving). There is concern that the replacements don't have much of a clue. More political hacks*. There was some talk that there is a rumor of an inuendo supposedly overheard by my brother's cousin's hairdresser that there is somebody somewhere talking about abolishing the DPH. Not sure how this would affect other areas that DPH oversees, but for EMS, it would be up to the individual systems to ensure they are compliant with state law. Personnally, I favor this method.


    ---------
    *Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with policital hacks if they can do the job. And maybe that's how they start out. I know one place that could be ripe with political hacks, but fortunately, at the level that matters, the poeple in there know their jobs and are damn good at them. Right Mitzi?
    Last edited by jaybird210; 10-19-2004 at 03:22 PM.
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    Default Oh, I almost forgot...

    In my haste to kiss a little butt....

    Art, please express to Rep Moffit how much we all appreciate what he has and is doing to help us all. It's truly amazing to see a politician working to improve things state-wide, as opposed to just catering to those that can re-elect him.
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    Talking Thank you!

    Thank you CheifReason and Jaybird210, for the warm welcome!

    First I'm in north suburban Chicago.

    Second, I understand the money issue and how the paramedic class time affects the finances and is a strain on any department. I don't agree with the price rise of the class. That's getting steep, but I still want the education. Now I don't have the experience that the majority of you do. However I am an ARC Lifeguard Instructor, and when I'm conducting a class I use all required hours and then sum. I can always find some aspect for everyone to work on to be stronger and add useful information. That's why I like the idea of two years, it's a chance to learn more and strenthen valuable skills. I don't know how the Paramedic Instructors have/might be/are teaching the course, but I don't think they should have class filler. Instead use the extra time (if any) as a review or to go into more depth on information.

    Third any suggestions I can do on helping with getting the state exam out again?

    Forth any news on up comming NR exams?

    All my thanks

    Jorie
    Last edited by JorieH; 10-20-2004 at 04:07 AM.

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