Motlow EMT Skills Lab in full functioning mode

Lab one of only 12 in Tennessee and the only one in Upper Cumberland

Students are providing lifesaving services in the simulator of the EMT Skills Lab at the Sparta Campus of Motlow Community College.
Students are providing lifesaving services in the simulator of the EMT Skills Lab at the Sparta Campus of Motlow Community College.

White County has used the Governor’s Three Star Grant to fund an EMT Skills Lab on the Sparta Campus of Motlow Community College, and, last week, students began practicing life-saving skills with the new high-tech equipment.

The lab’s central focus is a state-of-the-art ambulance simulator, one of only 12 throughout the entire state of Tennessee and the only one in the Upper Cumberland.

“What makes the simulator so special is students learning to work in the confines of the ambulance itself,” Beth Ann Swallows, site coordinator for Sparta’s Motlow campus, said. “Earlier, they were working on life support and the patient ‘coded.’ They had to jump up and start doing CPR. It is really special that Sparta has this kind of training opportunity.”

Houston Austin, the EMT/AEMT coordinator for the new program, said the new lab not only features the ambulance simulator but also boasts an iSimulate monitor and an AI patient named “Alex” that speaks and responds to questions, both medical and non-medical, so that students can participate in learning experiences and practice scenarios that instructors create to be as close to a real emergency as possible.

“The lab also has realistic IV arms that simulate an actual IV stick and many other technical pieces of equipment that ensure students are receiving the best hands-on training possible,” Austin said.

Austin went on to say that students who complete the program and pass all of the testing to earn their certifications will receive job placement assistance as the program coordinators will help them with seeking employment opportunities.

“I am extremely proud of the work that my entire team has done to bring this opportunity to White County,” Drew Hooker, EMS director for Motlow’s EMS Education program, said. “I especially thank Houston Austin and Beth Ann Swallows for their dedication to this project. I am very excited for what it means to White County and the Upper Cumberland Region. The students deserve the best equipment, and this simulator brings that quality.”

According to Swallows, enrollment for the 2021 spring semester is already open, and those interested in the two-and-a-half-year program should contact Houston Austin at           


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