Natalie Jones: Discovering Her Passion for Medicine and Service

Name: Natalie Jones

Major: Psychology with Nursing Prerequisites

Year: Senior

Age: 22

Hometown: Boca Raton, FL

Natalie Jones is currently a senior at Florida State University. During the past four years, Natalie has lent her passion and service to multiple volunteer medical organizations. An aspiring flight nurse, Natalie continues to share her passion for medicine with others by working as a teaching assistant for FSU’s Medical Response Unit and as an observer for the Medical Response Program at Florida High.

Courtesy: Shaimaa Khanam

 

Her Campus (HC): Why do you want to go into the medical field? What inspired you?

Natalie Jones (NJ): I’ve always wanted to help people. I never really had an interest in medicine until I came to college. I started thinking about biology because I like science and I thought maybe I would like to be a doctor because that is the first thing you think of involving medicine, you know? I started with bio classes and then I realized that I didn’t really like that kind of science as much as I thought I would, so I started looking for internships in the field. I contacted the Wellness Center and they suggested the Healthy Noles program and the Medical Response program. I looked into the medical response program and after I started working with them I realized that emergency medicine is the field I want to be involved in.

Courtesy: Natalie Jones

HC: Tell us about the Medical Response Unit.

NJ: It’s a bunch of students that take a semester long certification class to become EMRs (Emergency Medical Responders). After that first semester is over you serve as a practicum. During that time, you have a shift and you are on-call for three to four hours a week. If there are any sort of medical emergencies on-campus, we work with FSU Police and the Wellness Center to respond to those calls and we treat patients alongside the EMS in Tallahassee. This past semester I was also able to get involved with medical response in a different way by working as a TA for the class. I worked with students who entered the same class that I was in a year and a half ago. It was interesting to see people who are in a similar place to where I was when I started. There are always some people who have family members in the medical field and then there are other people who, like me, didn’t really have a lot of experience. I didn’t know if working in the medical field was something I wanted to do when I entered the program. It is awesome to see people in the class figure out that this is something they want to do, just like I did.

Courtesy: Natalie Jones

HC: You are a certified EMT can you tell us about that process?

NJ: Over the summer, I became a certified EMT through the Medical Response Unit’s partnership with Tallahassee Community College’s EMT program. They select eighteen of our students to complete a ten-week course. You complete 140 clinical hours on ambulances and in emergency rooms as well as taking 11 credit hours of labs and lectures. After completing the program, I became a Florida-certified EMT as well as a nationally-certified EMT. 

 

HC: That is amazing! Can you tell us the greatest thing you learned or experienced from being an EMT and Medical Responder?

NJ: I think the greatest thing I have experienced is that it helped me realize what I want to do. Being an EMR with FSU’s Medical Response Unit is awesome but you are a bit limited with the type of people you see – we see mostly college-aged students. When I did the EMT program we got to go out into Tallahassee and go into parts of town that we normally wouldn’t. We treated people who we don’t normally interact with. I could treat anyone from infants to the elderly and it is amazing to get that spectrum. I just found such joy in it that although we were only required to complete 140 clinical hours I ended up doing over 160!

Courtesy: Natalie Jones

HC: What kind of advice do you have for students who want to get involved in medicine?

NJ: Well the first thing about it, especially if you’re like me and no one in your family is involved in the medical field, there is nothing easy about it – there is no one thing you can do to get where you want to be. What I did was I shadowed a few nurses in ERs, I joined AMWA which is a medical women’s association on campus, I joined Nole Med. Through those programs, I immersed myself into different things I could do with medicine, not necessarily everything that I wanted to do, but I gave myself options. Through those two clubs, through Medical Response and just being around people who also have the same ideals as you can help you learn about different areas. I started out wanting to be a doctor and then I thought maybe I want to work with kids or in cardiac and then I realized that what I really want to do is work in trauma.

 

HC: How do you balance your medical work and your student work, seeing as you also started working in the ER of Capital Regional?

NJ: Well I just started working at Capital Regional a few months and I work one to two, 12 hour shifts a week there, but I can’t imagine having to work there when I was also active in four different clubs. I keep myself very organized with a color-coded calendar of all the things I have to do, but I still make sure that I have time for myself. I am also involved with Epsilon Sigma Alpha, a co-ed service fraternity, so I can do community service with friends as well as just have fun and play IM sports. I have also made sure to never overload my class schedule so I don’t have to spend all my time in the library. It’s where you learn, but it’s not where you “learn,” if that makes sense.

Courtesy: Natalie Jones

HC: Absolutely! Do you want to explain your philosophy behind that more?

NJ: College isn’t just about getting a degree, it’s about what you do while getting your degree that helps determine what you can do with it. My parents always told me “don’t take so many classes that you’re overloaded” and freshmen year I didn’t really understand that. I thought: “but its college, I am just supposed to take classes” - but then you realize that isn’t everything your supposed to do. I wasn’t a part of four different clubs at one time while taking 15 credit hours. You want to be able to do everything and while I like to be busy, I am doing everything I want to do now, which helps me balance it. I don’t work because I have to, I work because I want to. I want to gain more experience in an ER – it’s not just something on my schedule.

 

HC: So where would you like to end up, career-wise?

NJ: I found that I really do like the patient care aspect of medicine and through my EMT program I realized that I like working in a high-stakes environment. Once I graduate I want to go to paramedic school, gain a few years of experience, then I want to do a nursing bridge program and from there go into flight nursing.

Courtesy: Natalie Jones