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  • Tyler Bonnicksen

Tyler Bonnicksen

  • Program: Paramedic/EMS education

    Education/Industry Certifications: Certificate of Paramedic, EMS-Instructor, BLS Instructor ACLS, PALS, PEPP, ABLS, PHTLS, AMLS

    Has Taught at SCC Since: July 2015

    Years of Work Experience Outside SCC: 15

    Describe your teaching philosophy.

    You can't teach someone to dribble a basketball with PowerPoint. Put the ball in their hands and let them learn what the ball does when you bounce it. I am a facilitator of our student's education.

    Why did you decide to teach at a community college?

    I was adjunct instructing at Creighton (University), and our medical director pointed me to SCC and said it paid more. I came in and talked to (program chair) Ryan (Batenhorst) about becoming an adjunct instructor and first learned what educating students should look like. Education and training are vastly different. I wanted to be where they educated.

    What can prospective students expect when they enroll in your program?

    Limited use of PowerPoints, if any at all, class discussion, writing scenarios, running scenarios, free thinking, emphasis on critical thinking and leadership. Most importantly, the discovering your “why?”

    What experiences outside of SCC do you bring to the classroom/laboratory that enhance student learning?

    I was classically “trained,” and I disliked that. I felt we needed, as paramedics, the freedom to think about why we were performing a procedure. I wanted to know why I was doing something and how it was going to impact a patient. We push our students to know why they chose the treatment modality they did. We encourage them to consider all possibilities, pathophysiology, make split-second decisions based on their education, and ebb and flow as the patient treatment continues.

    What advice do you have for students pursuing a degree in your program? 

    Find something you are passionate about. Running calls at 2 a.m. for someone you treat three to four times a week for simple causes isn't going to let you treat them like a patient. It will anger you. Over time they become an object. Wanting to help people doesn’t become enough. Dig deep as to why you are doing this and there you will find your passion with taking care of human beings.

    What do you enjoy most about working with students?

    The process. The ups and downs. The joys and frustrations. The moments of clarity and the moments of despair. I love being with them on their journey. I love the moments when something makes sense and propels them to learn more and WANT more. Their journey is most important.

    What is the best part about being an SCC faculty member?

    I get to work with great visionaries. From the top all the way down. We have a clear-cut direction of what we want for our students and our program.

    What has been your proudest moment as an instructor?

    Every day is a proud moment. I get to be part of another’s education in something that I’m passionate about. I get to see smiles and hear stories of something they got to experience that we talked about in class or during a scenario. The “aha” moments are pretty great!

    What do you like to do when you're not teaching?

    Drink cold beer and dark whiskey. I enjoy time with my family and friends that mean everything to me. Otherwise a good movie, a motorcycle ride and the University of Nebraska Omaha.

    What would students be surprised to know about you?

    I love cows. I started a small cattle business from scratch.