Sheila Beauchamp, an EMT-B with the Langdon Ambulance, was recently recognized by the Board of Directors of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) for achieving 30 consecutive years as a Nationally Registered EMT.
Posted on 8/27/16
By Melissa Anderson
This distinction is a honor held by a few EMTs.
“I can’t believe it’s been 30 years. My heart races, and I feel so passionate about this job, even after all these years,” Beauchamp said.
Most of Beauchamp’s time as an EMT to the ambulance is transfers when they take a patient to another facility.
“I have used my EMT skills to enhance my role as a LPN at Cavalier County Memorial Hospital,” Beauchamp said.
Beauchamp was encouraged to take the EMT course by her director of nurses at the time, Beth Roder, who told Beauchamp that she had “an opportunity for her”.
“It was a six month class meeting one night a week until we took our written test and a practical test in April,” Beauchamp explained, “It was a great class.”
Beauchamp’s interest in emergency medicine was sparked in her childhood by watching a favorite TV show, Emergency, with John Gage and Roy Desoto.
“That show highlighted the beginning of organized emergency care in the field. Yes, my first ambulance that we worked here in Langdon was a hearse style,” Beauchamp shared.
To maintain her status as a Nationally Registered EMT, Beauchamp completed, on a biennial basis, the most comprehensive recertification program for Emergency Medical Technicians in America. She not only completed courses to refresh her fundamental knowledge and skills but also attended a minimum of two hours per month of additional continuing education courses to advance her knowledge on new lifesaving skills. The continuing education piece is governed by the National EMT board and also here at a state level.
“We must obtain 40 hours every two years. ,” Beauchamp explained, “There are many ways to get these hours. One is with our squad here at our monthly meetings.”
There are also regional two day workshops and, of course, at the state level in Bismarck that are held yearly over the course of a three day conference.
“The conferences are a great way to network with other EMTs across the state and find out what’s working for them,” Beauchamp said.
The variety of topics covered at these conferences provide the know-how to assist in many situations and also engage the EMTs. From emergency child birth to farm rescue and bleeding control, tourniquets, to injured children, the skills acquired at the conferences are hoped never to be used but could prove invaluable in life threatening situations.
“Classes that interest me are trauma related. What we can do for our patients in that golden first hour will give our patients better outcomes,” Beauchamp said.
By maintaining her nationally registered status and completing regular continuing education courses, Beauchamp is among the few elite EMTs with the most training in pre-hospital emergency medical care in the nation.
One aspect of being in the medical profession is witnessing three decades of medical innovation and changes. One such innovation is a new life pack EKG machine that now has the capabilities to transmit a 12 lead to the hospital, and in the event a patient is having a heart attack, it allow the provider to see these changes and have emergency treatment ready to go by time the patient reaches the hospital.
“We have had so many great changes with our equipment,” Beauchamp explained,”One piece we recently obtained is the Lucas chest compression device.”
This piece is applied to the patient and does CPR automatically, which is invaluable to the Langdon Ambulance as the number of volunteerEMTs dwindles.
“We are definitely feeling a shortage of EMTs here in Langdon and state wide,” Beauchamp said, “We really could use new members to join us.”
The number of volunteer EMTs has dwindled over the last 30 years from when Beauchamp started. The Langdon Ambulance has gone from having over 20 volunteers to about 10, leaving the remaining squad members little more than a skeletal crew. The volunteers are trying to maintain at least two EMTs on call every day for a 24 hour period.
“As long as I can keep getting continuing education I will keep my EMT – it was something I worked hard for and is so rewarding,” Beauchamp said.
Beauchamp was nationally registered as an EMT-B in 1986 and has been serving the Langdon community since her initial certification.
Beauchamp and the Langdon Ambulance Volunteer EMT squad would like to thank the businesses of Langdon who allow their employees to leave their jobs to go out and save lives.
“Also, thanks to my fellow squad members who carry pagers night and day, holidays and weekends,” Beauchamp said, “It takes a special person to do this job. You are working with patients who may be at the worst moments of their life.”
The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians serves as the national EMS certification organization by providing a valid, uniform process to assess knowledge and skills required for competent practice by EMS professionals throughout their careers and by maintaining a registry of certification status.