(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Even though Misty Lane started a new job three days after graduating from Texas State Technical College, she wanted to do more.
Lane, who is from Brownwood and currently lives in Cleburne, graduated from TSTC’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program in 2021. She has returned to the TSTC campus in Brownwood to complete the paramedic program to advance her career.
Her decision to return to school while working as an emergency medical technician for Johnson County Emergency Services was easy.
“I like the comfort of the program in Brownwood,” Lane said. “The atmosphere in which we are able to learn is tremendous.”
Now in her first semester in the paramedic program, Lane has noticed some differences between it and the EMS program.
“There is a lot more equipment we have and more things we have to know,” she said. “But having the hands-on approach of learning is the best way for me to learn what I need to know.”
Lane decided to pursue a first-responder career because of the experiences she could have in helping someone in need.
“It’s the adrenaline that led me to this career,” she said. “I have also liked to help people. It is something I have wanted to do my entire life.”
Lane said instructor Tim Scalley also led to her decision to return to TSTC.
“He is such a great instructor because he is always there for us,” she said. “He wants to make sure we have everything available to succeed.”
Those tools include the new virtual reality lab that paramedic students use for training. The lab allows students to simulate a response to a certain crisis in a virtual setting, complete with sounds and smells.
Lane said Scalley can change the scenarios in which they have to work, which will lead to a quicker response in the field.
“Having that lab available to us will only make us better,” she said.
Lane and her classmates recently met the manikins they will use for training, including a premature baby, a newborn baby, a child, and adults of different ages
“They are so lifelike,” she said of when the babies were revealed during class.
Scalley said seeing Lane return to advance her career is a positive sign.
“She is committed to this program. She is working full time, and that means a lot of time at work, as well as what she has to do for us,” Scalley said. “I know she will succeed because she has grown as a person since beginning the EMS program.”
Adding the virtual reality lab should help Brownwood’s program grow, Lane said.
“I hope more people take advantage of this hidden jewel,” she said. “Brownwood is lucky to have an EMS program with a caring instructor. This program is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to be a first responder.”
According to onetonline.org, the need for paramedics is forecast to increase 11% by 2028. Currently Texas has 19,690 paramedics employed statewide with an average annual salary of $35,940, the website stated.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree for the paramedic program, in addition to several certificates of completion for Emergency Medical Services. The paramedic and EMS programs are offered at the Abilene, Brownwood and Harlingen campuses.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.