Advanced EMT students pilot first ‘high-flex’ class with 100% pass rate

Six students pioneered the first Advanced Emergency Medical Technician high-flex classroom model at SCC that landed them with a 100% pass rate on their state exam. Associate Dean of Fire and EMS Training Brandy Nance described the pilot program as the first of its kind in North Carolina. 

“I don’t know of anyone else in the state who uses a high-flex classroom for EMS,” Nance said. “So, I said why don’t we use our high-flex classroom and model that for our future AEMT classes. Students will have the option to be in the classroom or online.” 

The high-flex classroom features cameras that follow and record the instructor speaking at the front of the class. A TV screen shows the students connected online with their webcam. Online students can speak and interact with the instructor in real time and with students sitting inside the classroom. The instructor’s lectures are recorded and saved online so students can review the videos at any time. 

Nance explained there are four levels of EMS training at SCC: Medical Responder, EMT, Advanced EMT and Paramedic. She attributed group study sessions every Wednesday night as the main contributing factor to the pass rate because of their extra support from students and herself. Advanced EMT students have 90 days to complete their state exam after taking the class. 

“Most of our squads operate at the AEMT level in Columbus County,” Nance said. “With the rise in Paramedics, we’ve had a deficit in AEMTs. So, we need as many AEMTs as possible to take the class and get certified to work in Columbus County.” 

Nance explained the push for AEMT classes started with Dr. Peter Chambers, SCC and Columbus County Medical Director and local ER physician with 25 years of experience. The course is taught in the high-flex classroom in the HHS building on campus. Teaching the class in the high-flex classroom was beneficial in several ways, Nance said.  

“At first, I was nervous about it and afraid it would drop off,” Nance said. “But what I found was when you give students clear guidelines and everything they need, they turn around and give everything that the class needs. They are the most independent students we’ve ever had.” 

Nance said there were only nine mandatory in-person class days for “skill days.” Online students have seven days to visit campus and take tests inside the high-flex classroom. She said the high-flex model also helped with retention rates.   

“By doing this, it helps work around a student’s work schedule,” Nance said. “If you can’t come to class, you can join virtually. If you can’t join virtually, you have seven days to come make your class up since it is recorded. They come in and get their packet of work, I pull up the lecture on the screen, and they do the class work with the recorded lecture.” 

Nance said her favorite part of the high-flex AEMT class is the additional defense tactics portion of the class, where students are learning to escape from intense situations. Nance said that learning defensive tactics adds extra value to the class as well as when responding to medical emergencies. Jamie Watts, a brown belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu and owner of Wolfpack Martial Arts in Whiteville, taught the five-hour self-defense portion of the class.