November 2018
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

Teen Ambulance Corps Volunteer Passes National EMT Exam

Demarest, NJ: On Monday nights, while many people are relaxing at home, teen volunteer Melanie DeRosa is on call for the Westwood Ambulance Corps. Recently, DeRosa enhanced her standing within the corps by attending a two-month training course and passing the National Emergency Medical Technician Exam.

Before she entered her senior year at the Academy of the Holy Angels, DeRosa spent her summer at Pascack Valley Hopsital’s EMT course. In late October, she sat for the national exam in Paterson.

“I was required to complete both skills and written exams,” DeRosa said of the process. “I passed the skill assessment over the summer at my EMT class, then took the written exam at the end of October. The written exam was a computer adaptive test, meaning that if you continue to get questions right, it will generate harder questions as you go on, and it was a two-hour long test.”

Her investment is already paying dividends.

“I learned a lot of new medical terminology and much more about the human body. I find myself using the skills I learned in EMT school in my everyday life. For example, in EMT class one of the skills we were taught is how to defuse complicated situations or heated disputes between the patient and the patient’s family. This has given me the ability to make quick decisions and to work under pressure,” she noted.

DeRosa began working with the Westwood Ambulance Corps in 2017, when she turned 16. She saw the corps as an opportunity to gain experience on her path to a career in medicine. Before she completed her EMT training, she was permitted to administer CPR, assist with equipment, and perform rig checks. As an EMT, DeRosa said she will be able to check patients’ blood pressure, assist them in taking medications, administer oxygen, bandage wounds, and perform other basic life-saving procedures.
“I am currently certified in New Jersey, but when I turn 18, I will be nationally certified, meaning that I can practice in any state in the United States,” she explained.

DeRosa is clearly pleased with the choices she has made so far.

“Being on-call is the best part of my week. I love medicine and working in the field. However, the fact that I get to help people along the way makes it even more enjoyable. For example, most of the people I see are elderly people or people who are in need of psychiatric treatment. They usually are terrified and confused about what is happening, so it’s nice to be able to be the person to alleviate their pain,” she shared.

Asked to recount a memorable experience, De Rosa described her first call after she had completed EMT school. She and her team responded to a restaurant where a man had collapsed.

“When we arrived, we brought out the stretcher and reeves so we could transfer the patient to the ambulance. The patient was in a peculiar position, so it was difficult to move him without causing more pain. We placed a neck collar on the patient to stabilize his spine and eventually figured out how to move him without causing extreme pain. Fortunately, the patient was not seriously injured, and we were able to transport him quickly.”

DeRosa explained that, before she trained at EMT school, she would go on calls and see all types of cases, but did not have the expertise to treat those patients.

“Now that I've completed EMT school, I know the protocol for each type of situation and am able to make treatment decisions for patients.”

DeRosa and her patients are enjoying the benefits of her volunteer work and EMT training.

“I was always interested in pursuing a career in medicine,” she noted. “Working in the corps just made me realize medicine is definitely the right career choice for me.”

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.


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