Thomas Nelson Teaches Spanish to Emergency Response Personnel

Published: September 3, 2007

Thomas Nelson Community College is offering the first of several eight-week courses in Spanish for EMT, EMS and firefighter professionals in the College’s Historic Triangle campus . The course is made possible due to a grant received by Thomas Nelson Community College from the Williamsburg Community Health Foundation.

There are seven participants in the first offering, all firefighters and EMTs from the Williamsburg and James City County fire departments. The next group of students started a similar program tailored to nursing staff on August 27 and they are volunteer workers at the Olde Towne Medical Center. Each week consists of two hours in class and at least two hours’ time outside of the class including online and CD instruction at the student’s convenience during the week for the eight weeks. The course is offered free of charge since the expenses are covered by the Williamsburg Community Health Foundation grant.

The course is a focused training in Spanish vocabulary to help EMTs, firefighters and nursing staff to work effectively on the job with Spanish-speaking people in health emergencies. The course offers vocabulary instruction by qualified college faculty and significant practice with the instructor and peers until the vocabulary is automatic to the student.

The faculty members teaching this course, Linda Burgess-Getts (adjunct in Spanish teaching the EMTs and firefighters) and Alicia Lowery (Teaching the nursing staff) have received training and been certified by Command Spanish, Inc., the company whose materials and teaching methods are being used to teach this course. The College is seeking assistance from the community to identify other organizations and personnel who may need to learn Spanish. 

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