Volunteering on the Front Lines as an EMT

by Nicholas Tarzanin

Hi all, I am a senior Neuroscience major on the pre med track. This summer I volunteered as an Emergency Medical Technician as a member of Morris Minutemen Emergency Medical Services. The volunteer work was completed at our headquarters in Morris Plains, NJ. Our organization responds mainly to calls in our jurisdiction, which consists of Morris Plains and Morris Township. At age 16, when I first joined, I served as a probationary member working alongside certified EMTs. Ultimately, I became a certified EMT myself in August 2016. To complement my EMT training, I also gained my CPR Certification through the American Heart Association. This exposed me to the hospital environment and patient care progression beyond EMT services. These experiences further impacted my desire to study medicine.

This summer I volunteered through the COVID-19 pandemic. My duties entailed responding to emergency 911 calls, assessing, treating, and transporting patients using the skills of an NJ EMT-B. My shifts were mostly overnights from 6pm – 6am, but times vary depending on your availability and the needs of the organization. During the shifts I learned a lot about how the hospitals run and how the triage systems operate during the peak of COVID. The new protocols allowed me to learn the intricacies of hospital operations and their approaches to safe treatment of COVID-19. I also underwent driver training, which enhanced my communication en route to a call, on scene, and at the hospital in order to ensure the highest quality of care for the patient. Overall my experience as an EMT was fun, exciting, and rewarding. I also made many great friends as these experiences foster camaraderie with your crew. I am excited to continue volunteering over the winter and build upon my clinical experience in preparation for a career as a doctor.