Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare and The College of Wooster are working together in a partnership that benefits the not-for-profit hospice organization and college students working towards careers in healthcare.
Through the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification program, Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare is able to increase its EMT staff, while students from The College of Wooster gain valuable experience in healthcare.
Often, hospice patients need to be transported between settings in order to receive care. This may be from the home to the Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare Stanley C. and Flo K. Gault Inpatient Pavilion, from the hospital to a nursing facility, or to and from a doctor’s appointment. Transportation by ambulance is most commonly required. Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare identified a need for additional EMTs.
“As we continue to serve an increasing number of patients in the surrounding communities, the need for patient transportation will increase,” said Kurt Holmes, executive director of Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare. “In the current hiring environment, we needed to be more creative. So, we looked beyond our current staff to expand the pool of talent.”
Holmes collaborated with Sarah J. Schmidtke Sobeck, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and associate dean for Experiential Learning at The College of Wooster, and Cathy McConnell, director of Experiential Learning and Community Engagement at The College of Wooster. The collaboration resulted in an EMT Training Internship and hands-on experience as an EMT with Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare. Through the program, college students complete an internship with Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare and an EMT training course through the Wayne County Fire & Rescue Association. They also earn academic credit.
“The internship course was designed to support the academic connection, professional development, and reflective work connected to the EMT training course,” Schmidtke Sobeck said. “This opportunity has been impactful not only in the training the students are receiving, but also getting the students to know more about the greater Wayne County Community.”
McConnell praised Holmes for his vision of creating a larger pool of EMTs for hospice patients while also contributing to college students’ education. “We have to credit Kurt with his vision for both what a larger pool of EMTs can do for hospice patients and how to grow the pool while also contributing to students’ education and preparation for future roles in healthcare,” McConnell said. “We are so appreciative of this opportunity for our students and the chance to help Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare.”
She explained that the partnership provides College of Wooster students with an opportunity to see the community beyond the campus. “They learn how they can be authentic contributors,” she said. “They grow their interpersonal skills, engaging with others in the EMT course, the Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare staff, and hospice patients and their families.”
Holmes explained that the partnership allows Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare to meet a critical staffing need, while training a new generation of healthcare providers in the world of hospice. “This experience will help them with their career goals,” he said. “It also will provide College of Wooster students with a better understanding of hospice and palliative care.”
Bailey Farrell, a sophomore at The College of Wooster majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, is participating in the internship. After college, Farrell plans to go to medical school. “I knew this program would be a once-in-lifetime opportunity that would allow me to gain immense medical experience,” Farrell said. “I am looking forward to learning more about the patient-provider experience. By working with Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare, I hope to learn how to best care for patients and be empathetic towards them. I want to carry that mindset with me in the future.”
Tudor Lungu, a junior and a pre-med neuroscience major with a concentration in neurobiology at The College of Wooster, plans to go to medical school. The internship and EMT experience with Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare provided Lungu with a better understanding of healthcare. He completed his internship in June and received his official EMT certification in July. He will begin working as an EMT for Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare in October. “The medical knowledge I gained at Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare was very helpful,” Lungu said. “I have a much better understanding of what it means and what it takes to help people in various medical situations.”
Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare, a not-for-profit organization established in 1982, is an affiliate of Ohio’s Hospice that serves communities in northeast Ohio. It embodies the spirit of neighbors caring for neighbors with a commitment to relieve suffering, ease fears, and provide companionship along life’s last journey. Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare addresses patient and family needs wherever the patient calls home. Services also include access to the Stanley C. and Flo K. Gault Inpatient Pavilion, providing short-term patient care to manage acute symptoms, adjust medications, or stabilize patient condition. The Marilyn B. and Mark E. Gustafson Center for Supportive Care includes Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare’s Volunteer Services, the Pathways of HopeSM Grief Counseling Center, and transportation service and support.
The College of Wooster offers a comprehensive liberal arts education, culminating in a rigorous senior project, in which each student works one-on-one with a faculty mentor to conceive and complete a significant research project on a topic of the student’s choosing. Through this distinctive program, every student develops abilities valued by employers and graduate schools: independent judgment, analytical ability, creativity, project-management and time-management, and strong written and oral communication. Students connect academic learning to the real world through internships, research fellowships, and other experiential opportunities, and they forge lifelong bonds with faculty, coaches, and staff. Founded in 1866, the college enrolls approximately 2,000 students from 48 states and 68 countries.