Health & Education

April 27, 2018

Kish Nursing students and Northern Illinois University students held a Health Fair at Barb City Manor in DeKalb on April 25. The students provided health information on hydration, constipation, fall prevention, polypharmacy, exercise and other topics. The students also provided blood pressure screenings. The Health Fair was well-attended by Barb City Manor residents and community residents. The Kish College students were joined by Pat Mitchell, Assistant Professor of Nursing instructor, for their NUR 249 Mental Health Nursing class. Mitchell partnered with Mary Gawrys, Nursing Instructor at NIU who coordinates community nursing clinical experiences, to offer the Health Fair. This is the fourth year Kish and NIU have partnered to offer the free health fairs in the community. Pictured are the Kishwaukee College and NIU Nursing students at Barb City Manor.

April 26, 2018

The Kishwaukee College Nursing Program has been accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), the official national accrediting agency for nursing programs. Kish has received accreditation through Fall 2022. Bette Chilton, Dean of Health and Education at Kish, stated, “The accreditation process was rigorous but well worth the effort to receive affirmation of our hard work in having a solid, quality program. I am extremely proud of our faculty and students.”

The accreditation process required nearly two years of data gathering, utilizing multiple information sources. The ACEN Evaluation team were at Kish College in September 2017 for a required site visit as part of the accreditation process. While at Kish, the peer evaluators met with Nursing faculty, other College staff and administrators, current students and alumni and observed classes, labs, and clinical sites.

Chilton said, “The new Nurse Practice Act for Illinois states that all nursing programs in Illinois must be accredited by 2022 to remain a viable program. Now that we are accredited, articulation with other nursing programs and Colleges for academic progression will be seamless. This also assists with job placement in hospitals, particularly out of state.”

For more information on the Nursing Program at Kishwaukee College, contact Sean Kesselring, Lead Academic Advisor, at or at 815-825-9822.

Pictured are several Nursing faculty with the certificate from ACEN; standing, L to R, are: Pat Mitchell; Kelly Soost, Coordinator of Nursing; Cindy Prendergast; Kay Singer; Kathy Schnier; Janis Ormond; Heather Heilman, Coordinator, Nursing SIM Lab; and Bette Chilton, Dean of Health and Education.

April 23, 2018

When Trevor Chilton was an eight-year-old Cub Scout in DeKalb, the troop toured a DeKalb Fire Station and he, like many little boys before him, was in awe of Big John the Ladder Truck. Twenty-plus years later, he was driving it. Chilton is a Paramedic with the DeKalb Fire Department and an alum of the Kishwaukee College Emergency Medical Services Program.

As a high school student, Chilton knew he wanted to do something but was unsure of his path. He thought a university education was the best option, so he received his A.A. from Kish College and then transferred to NIU, hoping something would eventually catch his eye. Something did: a flyer advertising an internship program with the Sycamore Fire Department.  “I felt like I was spinning my wheels and the internship with Sycamore seemed like an opportunity to try something else,” he said. It worked. He soon found himself at the Fire Science Academy in Arlington Heights.

In Sycamore and DeKalb, nearly all career firefighters are also Paramedics and Chilton soon found himself enrolled at Kish again, this time in the EMS program with instructors Steve and Deb (Baert) Ernest. The program begins every fall and students complete it the following August. The Program is currently accepting applications for the next class through May 31, with students receiving notification of acceptance in June; classes begin August 20. Though only one calendar year, it covers a lot of ground with medical trauma topics and hands-on skills.

Chilton explained, “It’s a very intense and fast moving program. It was three nights a week for four hours a night. We covered a variety of topics. They all matter because when someone calls 9-1-1, we have to be ready for anything.” In addition to classroom hours, the Paramedic students have clinical hours in an Emergency Room and a variety of hospital departments as well as ambulance clinical time with local fire departments. Many of the graduates stay local, working with the area Fire Departments and ambulance services.

Steve Ernest has been a working Paramedic and instructor for the Kish program for many years and knows the program is intense, because the job he is preparing the students for is intense, too. He explained, “Paramedics provide the vital services of assessing the situation, determining required medical and life-sustaining procedures, implementing those procedures, communicating with emergency room staff and transporting the patient to the hospital. Our program is rigorous. But being a Paramedic or Emergency Medical Technician is also one of the most fulfilling jobs one can have.”

Under Steve and Deb Ernest’s leadership, the EMS graduating classes regularly post a 100% pass rate on the professional licensing exams. But Ernest added that more people are taking EMT-Basic for purposes other than working as first responders. “Many people take EMT-Basic as a way to explore health care careers – what is it like to work with a patient? How will they handle medical emergencies? The EMS program is a great way to test the waters for nursing, physical therapy or physician assistant before making a commitment – in time and money – to those fields.”

Chilton can attest to the rigor and the excellent preparation for the real-world job of Paramedic. “Steve and Deb run the program with a lot of one-on-one interaction and pull in guest speakers from all around the area who are experts in their specialties. They certainly keep you on your toes.”

Being a first responder, whether as an EMT-Basic or Paramedic, is one of the most fulfilling positions in the workforce. “You come to assist people on what is probably one of the worst days of their lives, and you respond,” Chilton stated. “It is very rewarding and almost like a calling more than a job. I grew up in DeKalb and now I get to serve the city as a Paramedic with the DeKalb Fire Department. I feel like I got lucky.”

The Emergency Medical Technician-Basic and Paramedic Program will begin in Fall 2018; registration is currently in progress. For more information on the programs, contact Deb Ernest, Coordinator of EMS Programs at Kishwaukee College, at and at 815-825-9513 or Steve Ernest, EMS Lead Instructor, at or at 815-825-9497.