Submitted by Kath Pengelly, volunteer and advocate coordinator at Lifeworks
There have been a lot of folks in uniforms at the Eagan center these past two months. During September and October, we have had the pleasure of hosting a total of twenty seven EMT students from Inver Hills Community College.
This wonderful partnership provided an opportunity for the students to meet and interact with a diverse population and it has given our clients and staff a chance to spend time with medical personal in a non emergency setting.
On our first day in early September, the EMT students were treated to a bagpiper parade and jumped right in to help our clients be part of the parade route. Since then the EMT students have helped with art projects, played board games and joined us at bowling. In addition, they have talked to the clients at Eagan about how and when to dial 911, what blood pressure is and facts about hygiene.
This week I checked in with both our staff and the students to ask for feedback. Here’s what I got. The students have enjoyed their time with us, appreciated the chance to learn more about the personal interests of our folks and affirm that we are all unique individuals. Our staff said that the first day that the students came some clients were very anxious and concerned that there was an emergency in the building and now at week eight the response was, ”Oh good, they’re here again. What are we going to do today?”
So our goal of creating a level of comfort between the consumer and the first responder has been met, but more importantly we have had fun together, laughed together and learned from each other. Maybe if there is an emergency in the future and one of these students is the responder the potential anxiety of our clients will be lessened and the knowledge base of the EMT will be expanded.
Thank you to these future Paramedics, their quick thinking, courage and training will take them to many places, we appreciate their willingness to spend time with us.
We also appreciate Tia Radant, Director of Emergency Services Programs, Tina Mininni, Adjunct Faculty and Katie Halcrow, Director of Service Learning for thinking outside the box and making this experience available to us.