During my university years in the early 1990s, I took a class that was part of my sports medicine curriculum – I had no idea it was a ‘first responder’ course. It was basic first aid and emergency medicine. It was the first time in my life that I truly felt I was being bitten by ‘the bug’ of possibly seeking out a career involving emergency medical response that may or may not be sports related.
That same year, I faced a tough decision just one semester later; would I stay the course and get my Bachelors in Science in Exercise Physiology or was there another ‘calling’ that fit my personality better? In 1993, I left BYU behind, headed home to Iowa and started looking into what it would take to go further than being just a first responder. Fortunately, with a little help from an insurance policy started by my paternal grandmother when I was born as the first granddaughter, I had the funds to enter a new college affiliated with Mercy hospital in Des Moines. I signed up for the introductory emergency medical technician course.
I can’t say that the studies were easy. In fact, the coursework was in many ways more challenging than several of my university classes. I realized that, although it was a serious undertaking, if I wanted to help people I would need to put 100% of my efforts and heart into becoming the kind of person who could walk in the face of danger and make critical lifesaving decisions.
Several of my university classes had prepared me well. Unlike many schools, BYU offered an anatomy/physiology class that included a lab where students studied human cadavers. It is one thing to dissect a frog and another deal altogether to be privileged to be able to examine humans who had gifted their bodies to science. The experience, though difficult at times, was invaluable.
I was honored to graduate at the top of my EMT-A class and be recruited by a local ambulance company before I took my state exams. Later, I studied more and my life as a medic became one of the greatest experiences of my life. I was fortunate to be able to work with regional fire and EMS agencies, attend practice burns, take a firefighting exam and enter a brotherhood/sisterhood of truly heroic people.
I know many who come to my site do so to find out about my journalism career or check out the short stories and/or books I am working on or releasing. To me, it is just as important to share with fellow readers and writers experiences in my life that have inspired me and helped define who I am.
My “On Scene” features will be nonfiction pieces that I hope you will enjoy as well.