The Emergency Medical Service program at the University of Rhode Island has given first-year student Tatiana Snedeker, a glimpse of what her life will resemble once graduated.
Snedeker is a first-year nursing student and part of URI’s volunteer EMS program. EMS provides prehospital care for ill or injured students, as well as transportation if needed. Volunteers are trained and equipped to administer basic life support and “advanced life support” procedures in more serious situations.
The training for this program consists of six to 10 hours each week alongside certified volunteers. Students are required to attend a monthly meeting, as well as one major formal training session per month during the recruitment period.
Snedeker said that Wednesday was her longest day during the week. Her day “starts with classes from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., then again from 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. and ends around 10:30 p.m. after EMS training.”
However, she noted that the program worked with her to create a schedule that best fits her schedule.
“The program is very flexible to recruits’ schedules, as you get to choose when your shifts are during the week,” Snedeker said. She also claimed that this process is “by all means a time commitment.”
Snedeker said that her courses as a nursing student are demanding, but she balances her studying with EMS training on a week to week basis.
If a recruit wants to, they can join a “Night Team” where they follow an EMS Field Training Officer for the night. For this shift, recruits call a night ahead to say they are interested, and if there are enough beds, a recruit can join EMS staff for the night. Snedeker described those in the EMS program as “its own community, a little family in itself,” so it is comfortable being there overnight with peers at the EMS station.
Snedeker explained that the recruitment period lasts for 90 days, and every 30 days trainees must complete a certain amount of skills. These “skills” include learning how to take vitals, stabilizing someone’s neck and taking people in and out of the ambulance on a stretcher.
EMS skills can also be helpful in situations when off duty. As someone with Emergency Medical Service training, you are able to assess situations more accurately to see if you can help the person or if the injured person needs serious medical attention. Snedeker said that she has taken someone’s vitals outside of her EMS training shifts.
“[The program] can be useful to those involved in these majors especially, as here you can learn important skills in basic patient care,” Snedeker said.
Graduation from this program will take place in January. Snedeker encourages anyone interested in the medical field to sign up for spring recruitment.