Emergency education

Two Northeast State faculty members were honored for their work educating new paramedics by the Tennessee EMS Education Association (TEMSEA).

Don Coleman received the Lige Turman Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in EMS education and EMT-Paramedic program director Darren Ellenburg received the Bryan K. Cox Mentor Award for his work with paramedic students.

Don Coleman (left) and Darren Ellenburg

“I am very honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Coleman, dean of the College’s Health-Related Professions division. “Our division strives to give our best to the students and prepare them as EMT-Paramedics who will go forth and save lives every day.”

Coleman was an EMT-paramedic with the Kingsport Lifesaving Crew when he began teaching EMT courses in 1980. He helped initiate the EMT academic program at Northeast State in 1985 and later became a professor of the program.  Ellenburg was one of the program’s first students and graduate of the second EMT class in 1986. He joined the faculty in 1993.

“It has been a very rewarding career in emergency medical education,” said Ellenburg. “This award is a great honor because it reflects the privilege I have had in teaching all the students who have come through our program over the years.”

Ellenburg spent several years in the field as an EMT-paramedic with the Greene County/Greeneville EMS and Kingsport Life Saving Crew where he first met Coleman.  He later became an adjunct faculty member at Walters State Community College teaching EMT courses and served as a member of the TEMSEA board of directors.

The College’s EMT-Paramedic program teaches students how to assess and manage medical and traumatic emergencies in the field and with the direction of a physician. After completing the program, students are eligible to take the state Emergency Medical Technology-Paramedic licensure examination.

Northeast State is the only institution with an EMT-Paramedic degree/certificate program in the College’s service area of Carter, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington counties.  An EMT can read an EKG, conduct intubation of patients, and perform several other emergency care functions to keep those patients alive.  Ellenburg also said an EMT-paramedic’s skill provides a variety of opportunities in emergency care settings.

“We have former students working in Iraq and Afghanistan, in hospital emergency departments, and on oil rigs and construction sites,” he said.

Coleman credited his colleagues Ellenburg, associate professor David Bryant, and Sciences associate professor Chris Hitechew with the program’s continuity and success.

“You want to instill in your students a sense of what they will face in the real world,” said Coleman. “You want them to know it is often a thankless job, but when people do express their appreciation to you, it is truly heartfelt thanks.”

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