Paramedic-in-training gets his hours at Valley
KEYSER - Approximately two years ago, Derek Skinner came to Mineral County from his home in Hampshire County to finish his training as a paramedic through Blue Ridge Community College.
Now, not only has he excelled in his training to the point he was named Outstanding Paramedic Student and Allied Health Sciences Student of the Year, but he is also working for the company that participated in his training.
“I enjoyed my time here so much, I got a job here!” an enthusiastic Skinner said recently.
Skinner says his quest to become a paramedic began when he took a 911 dispatch job in Hampshire County.
“Part of my training was to do a ride-along with a paramedic,” he explained, adding that was all it took to spark his interest in the field.
“I started volunteering with the Augusta Rescue Squad and just went from there. I wanted to be able to give the best care I can,” he said.
Blue Ridge, which had placed paramedics-in-training with Valley Medical Transport before, sent Skinner and fellow student Cameron Dyson of Short Gap to Keyser to train under the guidance of preceptor Lauren Trenter.
Trenter explained that, once the students complete their in-class college curriculum, “my job is to let them practice their skills.”
It’s not something that happens overnight, however.
“It stretches over a two-year period. They have a few hundred hours at the end of it,” she said.
Skinner credits Trenter for much of his success.
“I’ve been with her the whole two years … I can call her up with any question I have … anytime, and she’ll give me the answer,” he said.
“I don’t think I’d be anywhere close to where I am now without her help,” he said.
And where he is now is working for Hampshire County Emergency Services, as well as working “per diem” with Valley.
Chris Guynn, operations manager for Valley Medical, says Blue Ridge has been pleased with the training program as well.
“The college has asked to send three paramedic precept students here over the summer,” he said.
“There have been multiple students who have gone through here that are Mineral County paramedics now,” Trentor added. “It’s a good program.”
Liz Beavers is managing editor of the Mineral Daily News Tribune and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org