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Boothe excels in Paramedic program

Sep 30, 2020

Back in 2016, Logan Boothe had an experience that changed the course of his future.

“My grandpa, who was a big part of my life, got very sick and ended up in Duke and had heart surgery. At the hospital, I was watching the nurses and doctors work around the clock keeping him alive and trying to keep him healthy, and I thought I wanted to be a nurse after that,” said the Morehead High School graduate.

Soon after enrolling in the Certified Nursing Assistant program at Rockingham Community College, Donna Thompson suggested that Emergency Medical Services might be a better fit for him. Thompson, a paramedic herself, is a curriculum assistant for RCC’s Emergency Medical Services program, and is the training site coordinator for the American Heart Association.

Boothe heeded her advice, made the switch and began volunteering at the Eden Rescue Squad. He went through the Emergency Medical Technician program from January to May 2017.

He then spent more than two years as a part-time EMT with Rockingham County EMS, also enrolling in RCC’s Paramedic program. Although he had to drop due to financial reasons, he kept his focus and enrolled the next time it was offered.

“We were one of the strongest EMT classes to come through in a while,” he said. “We had a lot of opportunities when we were doing clinicals in the hospitals to do procedures no other class had been able to do. Only one of us wasn’t able to intubate patients.”

Going through the programs at RCC’s Owens Health Science Building’s simulated hospital was a great environment.

“The labs were one of my favorite parts. For EMS, we have emergency room bays and a lot of our equipment there is state-of-the-art,” he said, including the recent addition of the LUCAS chest compression system and one of the new ventilators the county’s first responders use.

Rockingham County EMS made him a full-time job offer a month before his December 2019 Paramedic graduation, contingent on his exam score.

Not only did he and his four classmates pass the North Carolina Paramedic Cognitive Exam, Boothe also passed the National Registry Paramedic Exam on his first try.

He plans to pursue his Associate Degree in Emergency Medical Science.
Looking back at his experiences over these last few years, Boothe is glad he went the Paramedic route rather than Nursing.

“Nurses, besides being in the hospital versus out in the field, their skill set is somewhat limited compared to a paramedic,” he said. “As a paramedic, I have standard protocol. I can do anything from intubating a patient to doing a surgical airway, giving a vast amount of drugs without permission, and doing various interventions and other procedures.”

To anyone considering EMT or Paramedic as a career, Boothe has some advice:

“Don’t think that you can’t do it. It’s going to get hard. EMT class is harder than Paramedic class, because you go in with no knowledge and you have three to four months, whereas with Paramedic, you have a base of knowledge, and 12 to 15 months. Anybody can do it, just study hard and understand that you’re going to impact patients’ lives. It’s not going to be an ‘if,’ it’s going to be a ‘when.’ Focus on studying anytime you can. Don’t get complacent, take advantage of all of your resources. So anytime you can, come in on an extra day and do some labs.”

He said the hardest part of the Paramedic program is that students are again covering the basics already learned in the EMT program.

That’s about 90 percent of the program, you just have more time to hit on the very small stuff in those topics – something as simple as the questions you ask a patient, or procedures. While we can intubate and administer medication, our most powerful tool is our assessment. We don’t know what to do if we don’t know what’s going on with the patient.”

Boothe recommends to anyone who wants to be an EMT or Paramedic that before taking classes, volunteer at a local rescue squad or fire department.

“Not only will that put in a fee-exempt category (when you enroll in RCC’s programs), you will get experience before you ever get a certification. As a volunteer, unless you’ve had CPR training, you won’t be able to do too much. But you’re going to learn plenty just by watching and observing, asking questions all the time. You can go on calls with a squad member,” he said.

“EMS is evolving very rapidly. I think in 2023 is when an Associate Degree will be required, as the credentials move from certification to licensure. Gone are the days of picking up a patient and getting him to the hospital as quick as you can. We have substantially more equipment and tests that we can do.”

Before enrolling at RCC, Boothe thought and EMTs and paramedics were the same thing. “I thought they just came and picked you up. A vast majority of the public don’t realize what we do, they think we’re just a ride to the hospital,” Boothe said “We are very skilled and motivated medical professionals.”

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