Vernon Howery, chief of Rowan University’s EMS, shares how students benefit from joining his team. Rowan’s EMS handled approximately 800 calls last year and participates in two dozen on-campus events throughout the year — giving student volunteers real-life, practical, hands-on experience that helps them grow as pre-professionals.
“The students are the best part of my job,” Chief Howery says. “Watching them be trained and watching them evolve, and knowing that when they leave here that they’ll be well trained and easily find employment after graduation.” This organization provides real-world experiences, giving students a glimpse into life after college. Previous students who were Rowan EMTs have gone to medical school, pursued nursing and have become physician assistants. This organization provided those students the experiences that better prepared them for various career paths.
By joining Rowan’s EMS team students join one of the nation’s top collegiate units — standing as the only collegiate unit in the nation awarded bronze, silver, and gold awards from NCEMSF (National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation) for the organization’s preparation and readiness. Volunteers stand among peers who are required to maintain GPA standards, but still managed to accumulate a collective total of 16,000 volunteer hours as a group for the year. This organization operates as a family — relying on one another, helping one another, and laughing with one another.
To join the organization students start by submitting an application. Once accepted, within the first year of becoming a member students are expected to gain their EMT certification. This means the student is already in progress or actively pursuing the certification. After gaining this certification a member goes through a six to nine month training program held at the Gloucester County EMT Training Academy paid for by the organization. Chief Howery stated, “In addition to arranging the training at no cost, we have a continual no-cost-training program. So every month, Cooper Hospital, as part of the contract that we have with them, will come to Rowan and hold training classes in various topics we suggest or recommend.”
Typical scenarios volunteers might find themselves in include medical and injury responses, transport services for medical appointments and prescription drug pick-up, emergency medical transport, community engagement, mental health responses, training and awareness spreading of proper CPR techniques and AED usage, and the installation and maintenance of campus AEDs.
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Story and photography by:
Alexander Belli, graduating senior with dual degrees in public relations and advertising