LUBBOCK, Texas – COVID-19 has affected businesses all across the nation, and the South Plains college has been seeing a shortage of students enrolling into their EMS program. 

“We have definitely, definitely seen a drop in students,” said Jacob Braddock, EMS program director, paramedic instructor at South Plains college. 

Braddock says one of the reasons the field has been seeing burnouts in EMT personnel is because of long hours. 

“Obviously, the recent pandemic has increased the burnout, they’re required to work longer hours to fill the gaps in the organizations,” said Braddock, “Over the last couple of years it’s been a different setting where your masks and gloves and everything are important beforehand. Having to do it day in and day out, it starts to wear and tear in the acuity of the patients has increased as well.”

The South Plains College has been working to adapt and overcome these shortages. 

“We had to find innovative ways to reach the students. One way that we did that was going with all the book work and the lectures online in a live manner where the instructors are sitting in front of the students, but the students are in the comfort of their own home. This reduces the time it takes a drive to school, the cost as far as gas, especially with today’s price,” said Braddock. 

The changes are not only in the classroom but on the field. 

“EMS has grown as far as where they can work. 10 years ago, you worked in a helicopter, in an ambulance, now you have the option to work in hospitals and clinics. There’s a lot more opportunities which are taking the providers out of those trucks and putting them in different settings,” said Braddock. 

To find more information on how to get enrolled in to the EMT program at South Plains College you can head to their website here.