CHIPPEWA VALLEY, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – A new Chippewa Valley Technical College class may help ease the state’s EMT shortage. Under Wisconsin law, registered nurses can work as EMT’s without holding an EMT license. However, they first need to undergo training. First News at Nine’s Phoebe Murray looks at what these registered nurses may be facing on the front lines.

Nine registered nurses will soon be working hands on with their community ambulance services.

“Putting this class together we have this untapped resource of all these nurses that are potentially able to help out volunteer EMS services,” said Mark Schwartz, Fire/EMS CVTC Instructor and Chief of EMS.

The course focuses on the specific skills needed for nurses to work with an ambulance team. Today’s field lesson? Vehicle extractions at the scene of an accident. Leading the charge is CVTC Fire/EMS Instructor Mark Schwartz.

Schwartz said, “If they need to be in the car with a patient, they need to be aware of the tools that are going to be cutting the car apart, around them.”

A skillset that would normally require a 60-hour RN/EMT bridge class is being achieved in a unique 16-hour course. The community college’s collaboration with Marshfield Clinic makes this possible.

Registered nurse at Marshfield Medical Center, Emma Flury says the experience will allow her to do things she wouldn’t necessarily see working in a hospital.

“It gives me that ‘aha’ moment on why EMS may or may not have done something on a patient that they bring into use in the emergency department. And I know now going forward hopefully working on an ems agency what more I could do to help the RN’s in the emergency department as well as my EMS crew,” said Flury.

As the chief of a volunteer ambulance service, Schwartz says he sees the need for more boots on the ground, firsthand.

Schwartz said, “They already know a lot of the same stuff we do, so being able to bridge the gap means a lot to me, my wife is a nurse, my mom was a nurse, they have the ability to do this stuff they just need a few extra tools in their belt.”

A course, training our future first responders.

In Eau Claire, Phoebe Murray, First News at Nine.

The registered nurses fourth and final class will be held next Wednesday.