CU-EMS: Serving through Emergency Care

By Noah Tang

When the inevitable accident or medical emergency occurs at Cedarville University, who rushes to the scene to provide assistance? CU-EMS, Cedarville University Emergency Medical Services, does.

Laura Dykstra is a sophomore nursing major who has started serving in CU-EMS this year. She describes CU-EMS as a volunteer EMS team run by Cedarville students. CU-EMS responds to all dispatched 911 calls on campus providing medical and traumatic care for people.

Tara Keller, a senior Molecular Biology major on the pre-PA track, is in her second year of volunteering with CU-EMS. According to her, “[It] is a group of 12-17 (currently 14) EMT basics that respond to 911 emergencies on campus.”

The group is trained and qualified to perform basic forms of emergency medical care. And they have been invested with the legal authority to perform such services.

“This is a jurisdiction granted to us by the township and the university trustees, so that we can serve our students, faculty, staff, and visitors in moments of crisis,” Keller explains. “We are on call 24/7 and respond to a variety of types of emergencies, from longboard accidents to abdominal pain to mental health evaluations.”

Given the nature of the work, the EMS team must often work with other local teams of first responders. 

“CU-EMS has a great relationship with the other emergency services since often CU-EMS and Cedarvilles Fire Department will get dispatched to the same call,” Dykstra said. 

So does Campus Security. 

“More specifically, campus security will respond to every call on campus and make sure CU-EMS has access and room to work with the patient,” Dykstra said.

According to Keller, the response process begins with Greene County Dispatch services. Upon receiving a 911 call from within the University, they notify CUEMS, campus security, Cedarville police department (CPD), and/or Cedarville township medics. The security agencies are the first to arrive. Their role is to secure the area, direct foot and road traffic, and inform the EMTs of the situation when those responders arrive.

“The township will also get dispatched for the more severe calls, because they have paramedics on their ambulances that are able to provide a higher level of care through giving medications that we are not authorized to give as EMT basics,” Keller said.

The students on the team tend to be in majors related to that line of work. Most are studying towards such degrees. With plans to work as a nurse in an emergency room, Dykstra sees the benefits that her present training will have for both her and her patients.

On a more personal level, Dykstra said, “I am very passionate about caring for people medically in a time of need and making them feel comfortable. My favorite aspect of this work would probably be getting to know the patients while helping them.”

Keller observes that her work on CU-EMS is preparing her to become a PA—by helping her to develop a calming bedside manner with patients en route to the hospital, efficiency at asking them about their medical history, and the ability to convey that information to the hospital: “This experience has taught me a lot about how my control and calmness in my patient interactions directly affects their stress levels and how they react. We also pray with every patient before leaving them at the hospital.”

“My favorite parts of this group are having an outlet for tangibly using my medical skills and also getting to do so in the context of an all student crew,” Keller said. “I love this [job] the most because of the opportunity to serve other people in the exact same stage of life as me that I can relate to, the sacrificial way I get to serve them at any point of my day, and the encouraging student squad that I am constantly learning from and being inspired by.”

Noah Tang is an M.Div. student and a writer for Cedars. He likes drinking coffee, riding his bike, and making terrible dad jokes.

Photos courtesy of Tara Keller

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