A new learning opportunity outside of the classroom is available for University students who want to learn more about Emergency Medical Service (EMS). The club, called Wesleyan EMS Club, was approved by the University just before spring break, and is intended for students interested in becoming Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), as well as for students who are currently certified.
Jonathan Brudnick ’19 and Kristen Scopino ’19, two certified EMTs, are the club’s co-founders. Brudnick and Scopino started the club with the aim of providing a space for students to learn and practice their skills, and a long-term goal of having an up and running EMT service on campus.
“We want to provide a space for students who are already certified, or who are interested in becoming certified, because there’s not really a club for that on campus right now,” said Scopino. “There’s WES EMT, which will actually train EMTs, but once they’re certified, or if they don’t know if they want to go through that process, there’s not something in place for that particular student. We’re trying to fill that need as well.”
On the operational side of the Wesleyan EMS Club, they would like to eventually provide coverage at sporting events or commencement. While the school currently hires Hunters Ambulance Services to cover these events, the EMS club would like to work with them and ease their workload by having volunteers on campus. Another goal the club has is to be able to work during busy nights on campus, such as weekends, and to help Public Safety as well as Hunters when medical calls happen on campus.
“If you look at a lot of the schools around New England, and around Wesleyan, they have this up and running, so it’s kind of somewhat of catching up with those and creating a similar space to explore that on campus,” Brudnick said.
Some of those colleges include other NESCAC schools, with similar numbers of students. According to Hamilton’s website, they have a student volunteer Emergency Medical Team that is available 24 hours a day. Middlebury gives student EMTs the opportunity to train with the Middlebury Regional EMS, which is the responding agency for the town of Middlebury, Vt. and surrounding area.
Looking ahead to the long-term goals of the club, the Wesleyan EMS Club eventually aims to be authorized by campus, the city of Middletown, Middlesex Hospital, and by the state of Connecticut.
“At the very least, we would want to have more involvement on campus in EMS, whether that be health checks where people get their blood pressure checked or something like that, or if we can do drills or training, or just general events where we inform the public and the student body about EMS,” Scopino said.
Both Scopino and Brudnick emphasized that this club would lay the foundation for an important peer experience as well. Typically, if one goes outside of campus to volunteer, they are working with people who are more seasoned, and who might be a bit older. The Wesleyan EMS Club will be a more inclusive, forgiving environment, geared toward college students rather than people who are full-time EMTs and may not have the patience to train younger EMTs. Brudnick and Scopino can also help anyone who’s interested in getting certified, and point them in the right direction, whether they want to complete their training on campus or over the summer.
Though Scopino and Brudnick initially found the EMT community in different ways, they are both committed to helping people and are passionate about the importance of having a space for EMTs on the Wesleyan campus.
“I’ve been certified since July of 2016,” Brudnick said.“I transferred from Tulane, so they had something like this at Tulane, and I was kind of interested in it, but once I realized that it wasn’t the best fit for me school-wise, being an EMT was something that I wanted to pursue on my own. I took a course the summer after freshman year, got certified, and then joined a volunteer service at home, so I’ve been working with them off and on when I’m home. I’m not really a STEM or pre-med track person, but I’m just kind of interested in exploring public service and helping people and doing what I can.”
Scopino, on the other hand, is on the pre-med track and is interested in critical care medicine.
“I’ve been certified since April of 2015,” she said. “There’s quite a bit of overlap between that and emergency medicine. The thing that I really like about EMS is that you see a bit of everything…I wanted to see that variety and I think it’s really important to get inpatient contact as a pre-med.”
Jane Herz can be reached at email@example.com.