Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Learning from volunteerism

Learning from volunteerism

learning-from-volunteerism- image0At one point in my life, I was a volunteer Scoutmaster for Boy Scouts of America (my day job was hospital administrator). Scouting offers a great deal of fine training for its adult volunteers — I attended a week of excellent training put on by top adult-learning Ph.Ds and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies at the wonderful Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. It was a great place. I enjoyed the training and learned a lot.

Somewhere along the line, I decided to become a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) as part of my Scout training, which I did and remain currently certified by the State of Texas. It is handy training and while I have no delusions of advanced medical knowledge, I have been able to help people on a few occasions with basic first aid. I did a lot of CPR while being trained at John Peter Smith Hospital (JPS), a large public hospital in Fort Worth, Texas.

To become an EMT, I had to have book learning and clinical training before sitting for the state examination. I received most of my clinical training at JPS and by working from ambulances in the Fort Worth area. One night, while on ambulance duty, an experienced paramedic who was proctoring me said, “You will take the next call by yourself. I will just assist you if needed.”

The call came over the radio. It was a drug overdose by a person who would prove to be a habitual substance abuser in a bad part of town. I did my best with the patient, but the experienced paramedic had to step in to assist me. I was grateful. I had never dealt with a person suffering from that particular problem. It was a bad scene and he was in poor shape. I did learn one thing that night — treat the patient as you find them and do not judge them by how you would like them to be. And, one more thing: try to be kind to everyone.