Northwest ISD students participating in a didactic Emergency Medical Technician program received some unique firsthand experiences, including delivering a baby.
In the program, offered at all three comprehensive high schools throughout Northwest ISD, students have the opportunity to be work-ready and professionally certified, all before graduating from high school, according to a district news release.
The School of EMS has partnered directly with Northwest ISD and the district’s Career and Technical Education department to create dual-credit enrollment programs for students looking to learn EMS skills and advance toward a career immediately following high school. Across the district, there are more than 30 students currently enrolled in the EMT skills training program.
Copeland Taylor, a senior at Byron Nelson High School, already made plans to work as an EMT for AMR — a local medical response provider — after graduation this summer.
“This course has really been the biggest eye-opener,” Taylor said. “It has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever chosen to do. Holding someone’s life in your hands is an out-of-body experience I will never forget.”
By the time students finish their 168 hours of required course work — including 48 hours of ride-out shifts — and pass the National Registry Test, they can go straight to work in the industry as an emergency medical technician, according to Northwest ISD. Most enterprising seniors are looking to get a leg up in the industry, like Byron Nelson High School senior Xavier Juarez-Jacinto, who also added an OSHA 30 health sciences certification to his resume.
“I wanted to see if I had what it takes to make it at the entry level of medicine, and I wanted to see things that I would never get to see until later on,” he said. “Some people never see some of the things I have seen until they are in their late 20s. This gives me a deliberate level of skill above others in this field.”
Over the course of the double-blocked, year-long certification program, students are required to learn certain basic EMT skills in the classroom, including the administration of critical medications, life-saving techniques, and simple first aid safety training. Once a solid knowledge base is acquired, students participate in ride-outs with local emergency medical providers, where students ride in ambulances for 12-hour shifts. During the ride-outs, students are quickly thrown into real life-saving scenarios, including taking patient vitals, operating electrocardiogram equipment, loading patients into life-flight helicopters, and for Juarez-Jacinto, bringing new life into the world.
“My most significant ride-out experience was when I assisted in the delivery of a child. I got to ‘catch’ the child and hold it for a myriad of time, checking its overall health and reactivity,” said Juarez-Jacinto. “It was an amazing experience.”
Trained in the classroom at Byron Nelson High School by instructor Greg Roark and main School of EMS instructor Donna Wright, students are given ample experiences to separate themselves from the crowd.
“These students are learning by doing,” Wright said. “They actually have an advantage because they are allowed to spend more time preparing themselves for a career straight out of high school.”