After months of training, Vishal Patel knew he was prepared to care for patients as a member of the Tolland ambulance crew. But when the first call came, a patient with fatigue and chest pain, it was the new EMT’s moment of truth.
“I was really nervous. You go through months of training and shadow work, and I felt confident in my abilities, but that first call is nerve-wracking,’’ says Patel, now a UConn senior. “I had to keep myself focused. I didn’t want to make the patient nervous.’’
During his year of service, he helped with everything from badly sprained ankles to car accidents with trauma. “Tolland has an older population, so many calls are to homes and nursing homes, and occasionally to an accident on the highway,’’ he says.
Patel, a native of South Windsor, is pursuing dual degrees in healthcare management and physiology and neurobiology, with aspirations of attending medical school after he graduates in May. He began working as an EMT in September 2019 but recently resigned to focus on applying to medical school.
“Initially I wanted to see how it felt to be the primary healthcare provider,’’ he said. “I’d had experiences in medical centers in the past, but they’d mostly been backseat experiences. I wanted one-on-one patient interaction. After joining the ambulance, I found meeting people and talking with patients and their families, to be really rewarding.’’