Looking to get a jump on the “real world”


My EMR class gave me plenty of “real world” opportunities. In March I had the opportunity to assist in the simulation of delivering a baby with my team. I enjoyed it because all the fake blood made it realistic.

Coming into my senior year, I wanted to take a class that would give me some real world experience in an ROP class. I knew I didn’t want to be in welding because of the daily protection gear and I didn’t want culinary because I simply dislike cooking. This led to my decision to enroll in an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) class meaning that I would be able to learn immediate medical care in emergency situations. I was nervous signing myself up for this class, although I knew that as long as I kept up with the schedule and routine, I would be okay all school year.  

The first week of the class, the instructor Nancy Utterback, asked every student why they had decided to take her class. Most seemed to want to pursue the medical field in some way, but I just wanted to be able to have hands-on experience with saving people’s lives. 

The goal for Utterback this school year was for us to make mistakes in class rather than outside of class. She made sure to help her students receive the necessary certifications alongside the preparations to pursue this career by showing us the Paramedic Program at Hartnell, taking her students to Rancho High School to attend the football games, Presenting Zoom meetings with other job careers, and even bringing real American Medical Response to the R.O.P. Center. 

I originally thought the workload would be rigorous all year long since Utterback had 1000+ pages textbooks that covered a lot of materials and had been told to memorize the anatomy and physiology since she’d quiz us quite frequently. I would also think that the students would have to wear the uniforms daily, although we wore them only on special occasions. To my surprise, she allowed us to have open notes during the short exams or even made sure to tell her students the right answer because she would explain it elaborately. The lessons in class were also easy and entertaining to follow since they were simply through presentations, videos, or even hands- on experience. 

What made this class even more interesting was the collaboration we did with the Fire Technician class that allowed us to run several scenarios of picking up a gurney with a patient due to a car crash, among others. The overall experience was very fascinating and Ms. Utterback made sure of it by demonstrating what to do after applying a tourniquet, performing CPR, and administrating airway management. 

A bonus of being in this class was sitting with a special group of students: Barbara Ramirez, Jaimie Kim, Abel Orellana, Leslie Maria who were eager to learn and never discouraged one another. They helped ensure that I was on track of my assignments and even helped encourage my capabilities of being able to learn the skills.

Being dedicated and focused to mastering the skills led me to receive the recognition of student of the quarter, as well as a position of being a captain of my group. Now, it didn’t really change my mind of becoming a first responder, but taking this class enhanced my appreciation for paramedics, helped me understand the complexity of emergency care, and even got me used to collaborative teamwork.

Even if an individual isn’t planning to be a paramedic, this class helps you outside of the medical field by allowing yourself to have an increase in preparedness due to the pressure of having to do things quickly, builds communication skills, develops a higher sense of empathy, and most importantly an enhances of first aid skills.