Girl on Fire: Excited for more learning opportunities

[As seen in Creston News Advertiser, January 7, 2016]

My first-ever shift in an emergency department was not the best experience I’ve ever had.

Several weeks ago, I spent the weekend in Centerville with my parents. That Saturday, I scheduled a 12-hour shift in the Mercy Medical Center emergency department, followed by an eight-hour shift with the ambulance Sunday.

Saturday, I helped take vitals on one patient that morning, then had two others a good six hours later. In the meantime, a paramedic showed me how to use an intraosseous drill, which is similar to attaching an IV through a vein, except it’s through the bone marrow. That was my excitement (and really, learning about intraosseous methods was pretty cool).

But Sunday was when things got really interesting. In eight hours my team had one patient, which I was able to help with setting up an IV for the first time ever (it was definitely an adrenaline rush). In between the call and lunch, I had a great mentor who sat with me in the garage and went over hands-on techniques used in the field I’d not had a chance to try out yet.

It was thrilling, really, to be able to practice setting up IVs, putting in different kinds of oral airways, remembering how the blood moves through the body and heart and what the various steps are in assessing a patient’s chief complaint.

Even going through a single four-month EMT class and taking care of two patients transported to the emergency department at Mercy, I’ve come to respect those bearing the caduceus even more.

As a volunteer firefighter, I never had a lot of contact with the paramedics and EMTs at calls. Thanks to time spent with firefighters outside of the department, I’ve come to meet many people in the medical field. It’s not something just anyone can do.

I also never thought I’d say something like this, but I am excited to really get some serious time with emergency personnel. I love learning, and having the chance to sit down with those who have been emergency personnel for a long time will be a great experience for me.

I’ve got several shifts scheduled in the Creston area, and I’m excited and nervous at the same time for more great opportunities and learning experiences.

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