Helping Streamline Career Paths for Emergency Medical Technicians

Date: 05/02/2023

BANGOR, Maine (May 2, 2023) — Northern Light Medical Transport and Emergency Care’s Work to Grow program is providing emergency medical technician (EMT) students with not only necessary classroom and clinical class and laboratory training but real-world hands-on application as well, allowing more EMTs to enter the workforce faster. This unique program is seven weeks in length, which includes nearly 100 hands-on clinical hours in the ambulance. The program started in January of 2021 and since that time, four classes, totaling 45 students have graduated with opportunity to work at any Northern Light Emergency Medical Services (EMS) location across Maine. 

Crystal Bagley, supervisor of Education and Training, Northern Light Medical Transport and Emergency Care, shares, “Students are immersed in the pre-hospital patient care environment from the start which allows them to become oriented during class rather than afterwards. After the student becomes licensed, they continue the orientation process and are released ready to work in full capacity caring for our patients.” 

“During the pandemic, we had a nearly 30% drop in staffing across all five divisions,” recalls Andrea McGraw, associate vice president of Emergency Medical Services, Northern Light Medical Transport and Emergency Care. “With the Work to Grow program, we are able to hire an employee at the beginning of their EMS education, allowing them an easy transition to fulltime work. Today, through the Work to Grow and traditional new hires, our EMT positions throughout the system are nearly filled.” 

Sherralyn Robbins, a recent Work to Grow graduate and now fulltime EMT for Northern Light Medical Transport and Emergency Care, says, “It was empowering working alongside my instructors and finding my EMS family while learning by their example what it means to be an EMT and an advocate for patients. The Work to Grow program provided a unique support system through both the EMS class and the transition from student to licensed provider.” 

This program has led to the development of other similar opportunities says Bagley, “What makes this program remarkable is the students get to work alongside experienced providers. Without the experienced mentors, this program would not have been so successful. Overall, our Work to Grow program has also allowed those looking to switch careers an easier transition into emergency medical services. We’ve had students come to us from all walks of life. We’ve had a newspaper owner, a farmer, an electrician and others from diverse career backgrounds, who have come through our program and are now licensed EMT’s serving the community.”

Currently, Northern Light employs 200 EMS providers. Northern Light Medical Transport and Emergency Care has locations in Bangor, Brewer, Carmel, Corinth, Dexter, Dover-Foxcroft, Ellsworth, Greenville, Levant, Pittsfield, and Presque Isle. Through Northern Light Health, Northern Light Medical Transport also has a direct partnership with LifeFlight of Maine.