(Submitted by Julia Earnest–June 20, 2022)
My class operates on a rotating shift schedule with several additional class days to account for the shorter summer semester. I also have several randomly selected day shifts at the JFK Medical Center and at Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Station 18. With these obligations, it is safe to say that no week is ever the same.
On class days, I wake up at 5:30am to walk my dog, eat breakfast, and gather my equipment. I leave my house around 7:15 to be in morning lineup at 8:15. After check-ins, class is dismissed to either lab, lecture, or testing depending on the day. Class is dismissed again for lunch around 12:30 and we are expected to be back in lineup at 1:30. For the remainder of the day, we are either in lab or testing until 5:30, when it is time to check out. Our class is divided into four squads, and I have been assigned to squad two. Each squad member works together during lab skills and pop-up patient scenarios.
On Fire Station days, I wake up at 5am and leave the house around 6am to pick up donuts for the shift. I am expected at the Station at 7:30am, but I prefer to arrive by 7:15am so that I can be settled in if a call comes in early. Upon my arrival, I meet with my Lieutenant to check in and discuss my goals for the day. Then, I set down my belongings, restock my pockets with gloves and trauma sleeves, and go to the rescue truck to reorient myself with how it is organized. I also put my reflective vest and N95 mask near my seat. When a call comes in, I go to the rescue truck with the crew and begin putting on my personal protective equipment as we are en route. Upon arrival, I “monitor” where we are in the patient assessment process so that I can see how it is done in real time (as opposed to the classroom setting). I help however I can, depending on the call and the skills I am signed off on in class. After the call, I complete a Patient Care Report (PCR) for every patient that was transferred to the hospital. I leave the Fire Station at 5:30pm.
I have yet to complete a shift at the JFK medical center, but I am very excited to see what it entails.