New medical technician course available for students

The Emergency Medical Services of USC will provide a course this spring for students to become certified emergency medical technicians.

Although the class cannot be taken for USC credit, the classes will be offered on campus and will equip students with the skills required to handle medical emergencies.

“It’s a great way to get clinical experience,” said EMSC Chief Daniel Furlong, a senior majoring in neuroscience.

Founded in 2009, EMSC is an entirely student-run organization that collaborates with USC Fire Safety, Department of Public Safety and the University Park Health Center.

After taking the training course, students can apply to join the EMSC staff and volunteer as EMTs at events such as tailgates and sporting events. In the spring, EMSC members also assist in the supervision of intramural games.

So far, EMSC members have staffed multiple USC events, including the Oct. 22 Democratic rally on campus where President Barack Obama spoke, Furlong said.

“There were 37,000 people on campus, so we were USC’s first responders,” Furlong said.

The class trains students on a variety of medical emergencies, from cardiovascular emergencies to seizures, he said.

“We’ve seen diabetic emergencies, we’ve seen broken wrists and broken ankles. We’ve seen [cases of fainting], seizures and chest pains,” Furlong said. “We’ve seen a bunch of different medical emergencies so we’re pretty well-versed.”

Although EMSC is relatively young, Furlong has high hopes for the future of the program.

“Our goal is to eventually be … a 24/7, 911 emergency responder for USC. UCLA does that and hopefully one day we can be like them where we can actually be a paid EMS provider for USC,” he said.

As trained EMTs, medical students can get valuable work experience that could help when applying to medical school, Furlong said.

Tanya Shah, a sophomore majoring in psychology on the pre-med track, said the class is also great for students who aren’t pursuing a career in the medical field, because the skills learned can be applied to everyday life.

“Even if I wasn’t pre-med, I think that the class is really important,” she said. “I think the life skills are huge.”

EMSC Deputy Chief Catherine Khoo, a junior majoring in biological sciences, said she believes the class provides experience and knowledge in stressful situations.

“The EMT training is a lot of really pertinent information for pre-meds and just anyone really. It’s information that’s really good to know,” Khoo said. “It kind of gets people thinking in stressful situations. It prepares you for really pressurized situations.”

The class is put on through the UCLA Center for Prehospital Care and students participate in “ride-along” training, where they complete a shift on an ambulance as part of certification.

“We really all loved [the class] … It was a really close-knit group. The way they structured it was a lot of fun,” Shah said. “It wasn’t like an obligation to get up in the morning and go to class.”

Khoo also said she found the class worthwhile.

“It’s a lot more interactive than your normal classes … You don’t have to have a lot of [biology] knowledge beforehand,” she said. “It’s really kind of just recognizing something and learning how to treat it, or doing the most that you can in that short period of time that you’re given.”

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