This week’s profile is on the President of TCNJ EMS, Katie Dickson! Katie is a Senior Chemistry major, Vice President of the Environmental Club, and the Sergeant at Arms for the Chemistry Honors Society, Gamma Sigma Epsilon. Katie has been on the TCNJ EMS (Emergency Medical Services) squad as a responding member for three years. She started as an auxiliary member the spring of her freshman year by doing fundraising events to get involved. She then took the EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) course the summer after freshman year, and became a responding member for the squad her sophomore year. She was the Fundraising Chair in her junior year, and is now president of the organization.
As president, Katie is the head of the Administrative Line, which is responsible for the social aspects of the organization, like boosting morale and creating social events. Katie says she is also in charge of planning and running the general board and executive board meetings, as well as the Auxiliary Membership, which involves members involved in fundraising and outreach activities. She also works closely along with the Chief and Deputy Chief on day-to-day aspects to ensure that everything is running efficiently.
Members of the squad are on duty every week night from 8PM to 7AM and from 8PM on Friday nights to 7AM Sunday mornings. A typical shift is 11 hours, but each member also has to do two or three 24 hour weekend shifts every semester. When asked what a typical night or 24 hour on call period looks like, Katie says, “We typically get more calls on weekend shifts than during the week. A lot of shifts are slow and there are no calls at all, but I’ve also been on duty nights where we’ve had 4/5 calls in one night, so it really varies.” The response room is located in Decker Hall, and Katie says people mostly just hang out in the room until they get a call, “Most of the time people do homework or just hang out with their crews, and then we have bunk beds to sleep in at night.” In November, the TCNJ EMS team accepted the 2016 New Jersey Outstanding Volunteer EMS Agency award at the New Jersey Statewide Conference for EMS. When asked how it felt to win the award, Katie says, “The award means a lot to us because it is great to be recognized by the state of New Jersey for all of the work that we do. The squad is composed entirely of student volunteers, so on top of doing all of our academic work each member dedicates an enormous amount of their time on duty to ensure that the campus is safe. Both past and present members have put a great amount of time into constantly improving TCNJ EMS, and it means a lot that we have been recognized as an outstanding organization on the state level.”
Katie has recently decided to apply to medical school after graduating in May. She says she will take a gap year to work, and hopes to work either as a paid EMT or in an emergency room. “Becoming an EMT is actually the reason that I decided I wanted to become a doctor. Because while I love being an EMT and providing prehospital emergency care, I always wanted to learn what more I could do to help them. As a doctor I would be able to learn how to provide that care.”
Katie says that being on the TCNJ EMS team means so much to her, and has given her experience with diverse situations with different patients and scenarios. “As president I have learned so much from the other members on the squad,” she says. “I love all the members on the squad and I love being around people who are so dedicated, self-sacrificing, and eager to help others. I have gained an enormous amount of experience as both a team member and a leader.”