RCBC student paramedics to share stories from coronavirus frontlines

The Facebook Town Hall event will be held May 13 at 1 p.m.

EMTs, first responders and paramedics play a vital role in assessing, treating and transporting critically-ill patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) at 1 p.m. May 13, when Paramedic Science students Sarah Schoen and Jeremy Algarin to share their passion and experiences within this field.

Sarah Schoen began RCBC’s Paramedic Science program in January. However, she had previously been involved in emergency management as a firefighter in Ocean County and now works full-time as an EMT in Middlesex County. Her interest in becoming a paramedic stemmed from a personal incident 14 years ago, during which her father suffered a massive heart attack.

“If it wasn’t for the team that transported my father, he wouldn’t have made it to the hospital. From that point forward, I wanted to be more hands-on and learn more, do more,” Schoen said.

Now, considering her job through the lens of the pandemic, she reports that so much has changed.

“We’re limited with what we can do in the field because of the droplet precautions. The calls coming in have changed. And, a lot of the time, it feels like on top of being a provider, you’re also now a therapist, as you’re trying to be empathetic and reason with your patients,” Schoen said.

Fellow Paramedic Sciences student Jeremy Algarin expressed similar sentiments. He’s dreamed of becoming an emergency paramedic and began the EMT route in 2012. The following year, he became a firefighter. Now, his passion is more aligned with EMS, and he serves as a full-time EMT for Inspira Health in Millville. He enrolled in RCBC’s program in 2018.

“It’s been a long and very rewarding road. I hope to someday become an educator and help others progress in their careers,” Algarin shared.

Algarin also expressed a desire to eventually join a police tactical unit and become an emergency physician. As for how his work has changed since the pandemic hit, he expressed concerns regarding exposure and the volume of calls coming in related to coronavirus.

“It’s scary to be in this field right now. My truck runs about 14 calls per night, seven or eight of which are coronavirus patients. We always run the risk of becoming infected with the virus. In fact, we spend a lot more time cleaning now,” he shared.

As chaotic as things may seem now, both Jeremy and Sarah say they’re all in and have not wavered in their commitment to this field.

The Town Hall will available through RCBC’s Facebook page.