Susie Jechow wants students from near and far to enroll in Victoria College’s Emergency Medical Services Program. That’s because VC students know they will get “more bang for their buck and will be better medics,” she said.
Jechow, VC’s new EMS Coordinator, has only been on campus a few months. She took over a successful program from former EMS Program Coordinator Carl Voskamp, who retired last year.
VC’s Emergency Medical Services Program prepares students to become emergency care attendants, emergency medical technicians, or paramedics. EMTs provide immediate life-or-limb-saving medical treatment at the scenes of accidents and injuries, as well as transport injured persons to hospital emergency rooms for further care.
The 176-hour credit certificate program can be completed in one semester with classes offered Monday-Thursday. In addition to classroom time, EMT students are scheduled for clinical time at hospitals as well as with area EMS providers.
Victoria College Paramedic Coordinator Susie Jechow, left, and EMT-Paramedic student Billy Jordan practice life-saving procedures in a classroom ambulance.
“This allows them to actually practice all the skills they have learned while someone watches,” Jechow said. “After that, they are eligible to take the National Registry Exam, and, upon successful completion, they can apply for Texas certification and gain employment as an EMT.”
EMTs assess the safety of an emergency scene, mitigate scene hazards, and conduct a comprehensive patient assessment. They also develop a field diagnosis, implement a treatment plan for acutely ill and injured patients of all ages, and transport patients to an appropriate healthcare facility.
In the Crossroads region, VC has met the need for EMTs, but paramedics remain in demand. Many EMTs continue their education to become paramedics. The Emergency Medical Services – Paramedic Certificate Program lasts 11 months and is comprised of eight courses. Students can continue their education and earn an Associate of Applied Science degree. Those who do are eligible to become licensed from the Texas Department of State Health Services and could receive higher salaries.
- Eric Jensen
Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics
What They Do:
Emergency medical technicians and paramedics assess injuries, administer emergency medical care, and extricate trapped individuals. They also transport injured or sick persons to medical facilities.
How Much Does It Pay?
$19,000 to $41,000 annually
In the Crossroads region, there are 247 emergency medical technicians and paramedics employed. This number is expected to increase by 16.2 percent over the next four years.
Education & Training
AAS degree – Emergency
EMT – Basic Certificate
EMT – Paramedic Certificate
Source: emsi Career Coach 2015
Job Furlough Led to Coordinator’s EMS Career
Greener pastures, along with trees and a river in which to paddle, brought Susie Jechow to Victoria College.
Jechow is VC’s Paramedic Coordinator in the Emergency Medical Services Program, coming to Victoria from Del Rio in January.
She was working as a Paramedic Coordinator in a nonaccredited program in West Texas and learned that Victoria College had an opening in the EMS Program.
“I knew of (former VC EMS Program Coordinator) Carl Voskamp, and of his good reputation,” she said. “I knew he had built an excellent program, so there wasn’t a lot of work to do continuing it.”
A self-described military brat, Jechow was born in Massachusetts and went to three different schools before first grade. She has worked in the EMS field since she was 19.
“I worked with a variety of public providers from very rural in Real County to very urban in Hannover, Germany,” she said. “I like the smaller town mentality where everyone knows each other.”
She got into the EMS field after being furloughed from her national park ranger job at Amistad National Recreation Area in Val Verde County. While trying to get the necessary certifications to reclaim her job, she was taking a required Emergency Medical Technician class.
After completing the class, she awaited word on the park ranger job. The Park Service didn’t call her, but the hospital where she took the class did, so she started working there.
“It’s very addictive,” Jechow said of the EMS field. “There’s nothing like it – to jump up at a moment’s notice and someone hands you a child who is not breathing. Whatever the outcome, you know that you did everything you could and were ready for that call in every way possible. It’s a good feeling to know you were part of that incident and somehow made the situation better.”
Jechow likes Victoria but feels there is a higher purpose for her coming here.
“Everything has been laid out for me in my personal and professional life,” she explained. “Sometimes God drops you on this earth someplace, and you think, ‘why am I here?’ But I know this is where I am supposed to be.”
“I first came here in 2006 prior to Hurricane Rita where we did an evacuation mission from DeTar hospital,” she continued. “I have also paddled the Guadalupe River between Cuero and Victoria. I liked the trees and green grass, which were a big change from the Chihuahuan desert of West Texas.”
- Eric Jensen