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July 22, 2013

Ohman Wins Statewide EMS Teaching Award

A picture of Kenneth Brull working on ambulance project
Clem Ohman

The Oklahoma Emergency Medical Technicians Association has named Rogers State University instructor Clem Ohman the organization's 2013 EMS Instructor of the Year.

OEMTA winners must first be nominated by students or colleagues and then voted upon by the OEMTA board. 

Ohman said the award came as a surprise, as he didn't even know that he'd been nominated.

"I see this as recognition for all the years of service that I've put in in the field of emergency medicine," said Ohman. "It's also a recognition of the quality of the program we have at RSU." 

The program's typical job-placement rate is 80 percent or better, well above the national average of about 68 percent , Ohman said. 

Because RSU's paramedic program requires students to get their associate degree, its graduates also tend to move up the ladder faster when they enter the professional world. For those hired in many public fire departments and some private ambulance services, the degree also means they may command a higher salary.

Many graduates use their training as a basis for nursing or medical school, he said.

Ohman called RSU's paramedic program a "two-year job interview. " Instructors put students in small teams of 4 or 5 students, requiring them to participate in scenarios designed to emulate the life and death situations that professionals face every day. Just like in real life, the students have to work in a team.

"In our program, you are not just responsible for yourself, you are responsible for your teammates," Ohman said. "When our students graduate, they are ready to go to work."

Ohman brings to the classroom more than 17 years of professional experience in emergency medicine. He started his emergency medicine career in 1983 as an emergency medical technician for private and public emergency response agencies in northeastern Oklahoma. About a decade into his career, he decided to pursue a more advanced paramedic license from Rogers State College. 

He graduated from the paramedic program's inaugural class in 1993. That same year, he began as an instructor at Rogers State College and has taught continuously at the school ever since. In 2005, Ohman took over as coordinator of the RSU Emergency Medical Services program.