Hiram Rodriguez, Anais Serrato, Daryin Jones

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Seconds count in a medical crisis, and emergency medical technicians and paramedics often are the first health care professionals to respond with lifesaving skills to help a patient.

Daryin Jones, Hiram Rodriguez and Anais Serrato are first-semester students in the Emergency Medical Services program at Texas State Technical College.

They recently shared why they chose to pursue this fast-paced medical career.

Jones, of Brownsville, is studying for a certificate of completion in Emergency Medical Technician at TSTC’s Harlingen campus. At a young age, he knew that helping others would be his calling.

“I witnessed a close friend who experienced a medical situation years ago when EMTs picked him up,” he said. “Unfortunately he did not survive. That moment made me realize the importance of their job. I decided that’s how I would help others who need it.”

Jones said that his program experience has been riveting.

“I appreciate that the EMS instructors go over the lessons more than once,” he said. “There is an online group chat where everyone in the class communicates. The instructors ask if we need assistance, and that has motivated me to succeed. As for the hands-on training, I really enjoyed the bag, valve and mask ventilation (BVM) exercise. We experience the simulation ambulance moving as we are learning a new skill. It definitely immerses us into the realism of this career field.”

Rodriguez, of Weslaco, is also working toward a certificate of completion in Emergency Medical Technician. When he was younger, his parents suggested that he pursue a career in the medical field.

“I used to be enrolled in the Biomedical Equipment Technology program at TSTC in 2019,” he said. “Then the pandemic happened, and I had to reevaluate my career options. I developed an interest in anatomy and physiology, and the EMS program at TSTC appealed to me. I can still contribute to helping others as an EMT or paramedic.”

Rodriguez said that his program experience has been inspiring.

“I enjoy the pacing of the hands-on training,” he said. “Every week we are involved in two different hands-on training skills. My favorite was applying a tourniquet to a medical manikin’s arm. I have learned different techniques to minimize a patient’s bleeding.”

Serrato, of San Benito, is also pursuing a certificate of completion in Emergency Medical Technician. She was introduced to the health care field during her freshman year at San Benito High School.

“During my senior year, I had an EMS class with Mr. Ibarra, who also works with an EMS company in Los Fresnos,” she said. “I was able to experience some aspects of the field, thanks to him. (He) suggested that I enroll in the EMS program at TSTC as a refresher. So I did.”

Serrato said her program experience has been engaging.

“My instructors (Luis) Martinez and (Adriana) Contreras help guide us with any questions we have,” she said. “What motivates me to excel is that I’m receiving excellent training to help people in real-life situations, such as the cardiopulmonary resuscitation exercise with medical manikins.”

Luis Martinez, a new TSTC EMS instructor in Harlingen, is helping to guide the students in their education.

“All of my first-semester students have adapted well,” Martinez said. “As instructors, we incorporate quality comprehensive skills training, along with positivity and encouragement. The students have responded with enthusiasm in their experience. The students remind me of the excitement that I felt as a former student in this same program. It’s great motivation and fills me with hope.”

According to onetonline.org, the need for emergency medical technicians in Texas was expected to grow 11% between 2018 and 2028.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Paramedic, as well as certificates of completion in Emergency Medical Services – EMT, Emergency Medical Services – Advanced EMT AEMT, and Emergency Medical Services – Paramedic. Additionally, the college offers an occupational skills achievement award in Emergency Medical Services – EMT. The program is available at the Abilene, Brownwood and Harlingen campuses.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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