Professor Finds Calling
The story of Todd Norton

Full-time professor at Washington State University, Todd Norton, says his motivation for becoming a volunteer fire fighter for the Spokane County Fire Department District 8 was to feel part of his community and give back.

“I started out as a volunteer firefighter and realized the significant percentage of our calls, and the public’s need, is around emergency medical as opposed to fire,” Todd says about why he decided to attend the Emergency Medical Training (EMT) course at INHS Health Training. “I saw a need and an opportunity to get emergency medical training as a way of serving citizens.”

Todd says the 184 total program hours —classroom, clinical observation and internship hours—were topnotch and prepared him for mastering the National Registry of EMTs exam on his first try. Todd then became a part-time employee for the fire district. Students attending the INHS Health Training EMT course learn the essential elements for safe and efficient responses to scene calls for medical emergencies, perform patient assessments for illnesses and injuries, provide basic emergency care, prepare patients for transport, and safely transfer the patient’s care to appropriate hospital staff.

“The class is exceptional,” Todd says. “The program attracts people in the nursing profession, people working in the emergency department, people who work in fire and people who wanted to work with an ambulance . That diversity of students was nice because we had a variety of experience coming in.”

INHS Health Training’s facility was another aspect of the training experience for Todd.  As an American Heart Association (AHA) authorized certified training center, Health Training is able to provide all types of AHA courses and resources for the region. 

“The training center gave us the capacity to move things around and to go through simulated training, which was pretty significant,” Todd explains. The Laerdal SimMan 3G, a wireless adult training manikin, and the SimJunior, an interactive pediatric simulator, arrived last year and are being set up for student and professional training. Unlike other manikins, the SimMan 3G and SimJunior present human vital signs and respond to students’ actions, so an instructor does not have to describe the patient’s changing condition.

Another component of the AHA Training Center available through INHS Health Training is the high-quality instructors involved in the training. Todd says his instructor, Shaun Pitts, AEMT, SEI, continually went the extra mile to ensure the students were ready for real-world experiences and for the state and national certifications that follow completion of the program.

“Shaun is responsive to student needs in a way to help students succeed,” Todd says. “He has a good grasp of anatomy of physiology to describe what’s going on in emergency medical situations without getting too detailed. At our level, we need a good working knowledge of it, and he had a really good array of experiences to work with.”

To learn more about the course and upcoming course dates, visit: In-class and online options are available in addition to several medical profession courses and continuing education opportunities.  


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