Profile: Kate Buchanan

Kate Buchanan is a third year PA major at Thomas Jefferson University East Falls Campus. She works as an EMT in Pennsylvania

Why did you become an EMT?


So in high school I did an allied health program at the technical college and one of our rotations was EMS and I fell in love with it. Then I found out it was a requirement for the PA program at Jefferson so I became an EMT and once I started I didn't want to stop.

What's it like being an EMT?


It's exciting. You learn a lot about medicine and yourself very quick. It's a fast-paced environment where it's constantly changing and you never know what you're walking into. It's extremely touching to help people in some of their worse moments.


How often do you get a patient that isn't willing to cooperate and how do you deal with them?


Every here and there we get patients that don't want to cooperate in multiple ways. I end up telling the patient that, ultimately, it's their decision if they want to be treated and transported and that I respect their wishes.

What emotions do you usually feel during a call?


Depends on the call. They can range from something that we get regularly to a call that's dangerous. I prepare myself for what I expect. It can vary depending on how bad the call is.



How do you handle calls that are hard, like when you arrive on scene and you realize you can't save your patient?


You do everything in your scope of practice to help the patient, respecting their wishes at the same time. I feel like every provider needs to remember we tried the best we can to help and save patients but at the end of the day you know you did the best you could at that time.


What are your shifts like?


They can be boring from 12 to 24 hours of nothing to hectic busy and crazy of running all day. It's a really a nice time when we aren't too busy because then I have a chance to do my homework and it's all fun to run calls.


What type of first aid training should people who aren't in the medical field know (CPR, bleeding control, etc.)?


They should know basic first aid, taking care of minor injuries and wounds safely. The public should know hands only CPR. I feel like everyone should be aware of blood borne pathogens so they don't contract any diseases.