Pierce College partners with Tumwater for paramedic training program

Program to be done through lectures, skills lab, hospital internships, and field experience. Includes update from the public defender to the committee  


Pierce College has a new paramedic training program and is partnering with Tumwater, which would provide students with internship opportunities to provide them with hands-on experience.

Tumwater Public Health and Safety Committee met on Tuesday, October 10, to recommend to the City Council an affiliation agreement with the Lakewood-based college to set the terms of the partnership.

As Emergency Medical Service (EMS) agencies are struggling to hire paramedics, Fire Chief Brian Hurley, who briefed the committee about the partnership, said that any way they can help with the issue was essential for them.

Hurley said training will take up to 1,800 hours and cover anatomy and physiology, cardiology, medical administration, trauma care, and medical emergencies. The program will be done through lectures, skills lab, hospital internships, and field experience.

Students will go through 24-hour shifts and be supervised by a paramedic preceptor.

The contract is for an initial term of three years, and no transfer of fees or charges are expected as part of the partnership.

Hurley said they have the same agreement with Tacoma Community College and Central Washington University.

With the committee’s recommendation, the agreement would now be sent to the City Council, which would likely approve it as part of its consent agenda in a future meeting.

Thurston County Public Defense shares updates

During the meeting, Patrick O’Connor, administration director in the Thurston County Public Defense (TCPD), was also present at the committee meeting to give updates about the number of Tumwater defendants they have serviced so far this year.

TCPD has been providing legal representation for indigent people charged by Tumwater since 2013. O’Connor said that they deploy one full-time public defender and one full-time legal assistant to process the cases for Tumwater.

O’Connor shared that their office has been appointed to 188 clients who faced 347 charges, 231 of which were gross misdemeanors, 31 were misdemeanors, and 85 traffic offenses so far this year.


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