(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Destiny Roberts knew there was a chance she could compete at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Atlanta, Georgia in June.
Roberts, a Texas State Technical College Emergency Medical Services student in Brownwood, was an alternate for nationals after earning a silver medal in First Aid-CPR at the Texas Postsecondary Leadership and Skills Conference. When the gold medalist, TSTC Paramedic student Robert Rodgers, announced he would be unable to attend, Roberts was ready to go.
“I was pretty excited to learn I would be competing,” she said. “Now, I am getting a little nervous knowing I will have to compete.”
Roberts said she will not only be representing TSTC, but Rodgers.
“I know he will be there in spirit cheering me on,” she said of Rodgers, who had to withdraw due to scheduling conflicts.
Tim Scalley, TSTC’s EMS instructor, said Roberts performed well at the state event in Houston earlier this year.
“She did amazing considering at the time of the competition she was only about two-thirds of the way through her initial EMT training.” Scalley said.
Roberts, of Coleman, is looking forward to the national experience at SkillsUSA, a professional organization teaching technical, academic and employability skills that help high school and college students pursue successful careers. Members build these skills through student-led team meetings, contests, leadership conferences and other activities.
“I am looking forward to meeting new people, and seeing how everything is done at the national level,” she said.
Like her classes at TSTC, Roberts will use her time in Atlanta watching and learning.
“You can never learn enough,” she said.
In preparation for the competition, Roberts will be reviewing notes from class. Scalley said she has another advantage available.
“She will also be coming into the lab on her own time to work with me on simulations of first aid and CPR,” Scalley said. “We are looking forward to nationals in June and are ready to bring back some more first place medals for TSTC EMS.”
Roberts said having Scalley by her side at the state event helped her achieve a top-two finish.
“Tim prepares me by giving me a little speech,” she said. “He knows I have anxiety. He told me to calm down and have confidence in myself. He coached me through my anxiety and I was ready to compete.”
Roberts said she will be using the new manikins to improve her skills.
“I will be working on my timing and counting the beats,” she said. “I know I cannot rush through this scenario.”
Having equipment available for training, like electronic tablets to help monitor breathing and heart rhythm, has helped Roberts as a student.
“It is easier with the equipment we have available. Having the Bluetooth capability on our tablets lets us know if our patient is breathing enough,” she said. “It is helpful to have that technology a fingertip away.”
Roberts said she has always liked helping people and since high school has been working in the medical field. She started as a certified nurse assistant and wanted to be able to offer more.
“I have been in wrecks before, and saw the people helping me and others,” she said. “I like the adrenaline rush of helping people. I knew I wanted to be one of those who helps someone when they need it the most.”
According to onetonline.org, the need for paramedics in Texas is expected to grow 11% by 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. The program is available at the Abilene, Brownwood and Harlingen campuses.
Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.