Paving a Path for a Career in Emergency Medical Services

Taylor Buie, COL ’24, Philadephia, PA

My path began in the Spring of 2022. It was the night before my dance team’s, opening show night. As I looked around me, I saw friends smiling full of joy, smiles that even reflected the bright colorful stage lights. Everyone was concentrating high energy and technique into their moves ensuring to bring a great show to our audience the next evening in suit. However, in an instant, one of those smiling faces construed into a pain filled one. That’s when I witnessed them collapse to the floor yelling in desperation for air. Immediately I yell for someone to call 911 and kneel next to them in attempt to provide comfort. That was all I could do. While watching my friend struggle for air, all I could do was try and provide comfort.

I have always felt that my mission in life, not only as a scholar and researcher of the Biological and Criminological Sciences, but as a human being, is to be able to help an individual in need. The sheer explosion of adrenaline and fear I felt witnessing this event was for naught as I could only call for help and wait for assistance while watching them in pain. I felt utterly useless and heartbroken at that fact. This event became my motivating drive to strive be in a position where I can achieve the ability to help those who find themselves in a medical emergency. For this reason, this summer I have been graciously granted the rare opportunity by Penn Career Services to participate in the Emergency Training Academy Program, a leader in Emergency Medical Technician, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, and First Aid Training in efforts of becoming an EMT.

During my 12-week program duration in the Emergency Training Academy, I was required to learn the skills necessary to function as an Emergency Medical Technician by completing intensive medical coursework, obtain several certifications, and volunteer with an Emergency Medical Service for patient contact experience. Through this program, I am proud to announce that I am certified in CPR through the American Red Cross Association, Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response according to OSHA standards, Incident Command Services, and the National Incident Management System through the Federal Management Institute. With these certifications, I gained knowledge of the systems and functionalities of the roles and assignments of Emergency Response Providers associated with mass casualty incidents, handling of large-scale events such as concerts, national emergency situations such as national weather service alerts, and the handling hazardous materials, several indications that are required for EMTs to know in such cases.

 In addition, I was able to attain at least 40 hours of field experience by volunteering with Cheltenham Emergency Medical Services’ paramedic teams of Wyncote, PA in attending ride alongs on a variety of different emergency instances. These instances ranged variously from trauma emergencies including motorcycle crashes, to medical emergencies, and calls that are not for the faint hearted. Within the various dispatched calls I attended, I was able to witness how my bookwork came to life and learned how to apply my learned skills when contacting a patient. During the ride alongs, I was able to engage with the Cheltenham community and its residents in their dire times of need. Volunteering as a student EMT, I must say, was the best experience that I have ever been granted. Being able to provide a patient and their loved ones with not only comfort, but stability in care and transport to ensure they get the treatment in demand, makes my heart and purpose feel whole.

In successful completion of this opportunity demonstrating my extensive knowledge and acquired skills within the scope of practice of an EMT, I am eligible to complete the National certification cognitive and psychomotor exams to become a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician in the United States. This rare summer opportunity has granted me a pathway to provide care for many individuals from divergent communities for various emergency circumstances as a possible future career option. Simply put, there is no other opportunity that I have encountered that could compare to my experience training to become an EMT this summer. Everything I have learned and every individual, patient or colleague, that I have met while participating in the Emergency Training Academy and Cheltenham Emergency Volunteer Services, have made this opportunity unforgettable and life evolving. I look forward to advancing my journey in the Emergency Medical Services bringing aid to the Philadelphia community. Wish me luck!

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2022 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

By Career Services
Career Services