1/26/18

Expanded Illini EMS partnership preps students for success

Illini Emergency Medical Services (EMS) students practice CPRIllini Emergency Medical Services (IEMS) joined Carle Regional EMS this month, marking an important evolution in the organizations’ mission of providing highly skilled pre-hospital care to the ill and injured.

“It’s a benefit to students, faculty and the greater Champaign-Urbana community to have Illini EMS as a partner. Together, we provide EMS support at athletic and other campus events, emergency preparedness continuity and enhanced hands-on training,” said Brad Weir, MD, Carle EMS and AirLife medical director. “When students learn from a Level 1 Trauma Center, their clinical experience positions them to go on to be anything—paramedics, physical therapists, nurses, advanced practice providers, physicians.”

That’s essential as the U.S. faces physician and other medical professional shortages. Retiring medical professionals, baby boomers aging and more people with chronic conditions because of poor exercise and nutrition habits fuel the shortage.

The shortages present opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts “employment of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.”

Carle’s top EMS experts got their start at IEMS.

Like so many in EMS, Dr. Weir and Mike Smith, MD, Carle Regional EMS medical director, wear multiple hats. They provide leadership for Carle EMS, Carle Arrow Ambulance and AirLife while also serving in administrative roles, as educators and in the regular rotation of Emergency Department physicians.

“This is the level of expertise we want our students to be exposed to over and over again. They have the opportunity to learn from the best,” said Dr. Brian Brauer, the IEMS advisor and Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) associate director who got his start at IEMS, too.

“Our students will be prepared to manage cardiac arrests and know what to do when those around them face life-threatening overdoses, illnesses and injuries.”

Illini EMS students staff a first aid centerThe rich emergency-response experiences at the University of Illinois launched careers Drs. Smith and Weir might not have imagined when they mastered cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and dressed post-party wounds.

“While inspiration and fortitude abound in our industry, skills save lives,” Dr. Smith said. “With IEMS, Carle gains another strong health and safety partner, and these student EMTs and paramedics gain the foundation on which they can build the healthcare career of their choosing.” 

Illini Emergency Medical Services (IEMS) is a student organization supported through the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI). Some 200 students compose the volunteer IEMS, adding to the more than 65 agencies Carle EMS serves in 10 counties. Agencies include law enforcement, rural volunteer and full-time fire departments, advanced life support ambulance agencies, SWAT and explosive ordnance disposal teams.