Hoping to Become a Doctor, She Already Helps Patients and Mentors Younger Volunteers
The patient’s severe anxiety attack required emergency help. South Branch Emergency Services Volunteer EMT Audrey Riccitelli was among those responding. The patient spoke of dizziness, and Audrey could tell they were frightened.
“I focused on being calm as we talked, so that I was creating a calm environment around my patient,” she said. With less rapid breaths and a calmer voice, the patient thanked Audrey for her help.
Audrey attributes her calming skills to her SBES training. “We were taught it’s not just the physical well-being, but the emotional well-being, too,” she said. “It’s talking to people, and connecting to people, that make you able to help them.”
Audrey, now 20, has known since childhood that she wanted to help others. She was inspired by her dad, a volunteer firefighter, but was always more drawn to medicine. Friends told her about SBES and she joined in 2020, quickly started assisting EMTs on the ambulance, and became an EMT later that year.
Volunteering that Paves her Career Path A junior honors biology student at The College of New Jersey, it will take many more years for Audrey to realize her goal of becoming a doctor. But because she is a South Branch EMT, she already has direct patient contact.
“Even when you are shadowing a doctor, you are literally a shadow: You just watch and have little interaction. But as a SBES volunteer, I get to provide patient care, and I also get to help my community.”
Guiding Future EMTs and Rescue Associates In spring 2021, Audrey, EMT Jeel Patel, and SBES Rescue Associate Adrian Van Natta, who are all in their 20s, were asked to coordinate a special program for SBES’s junior cadets and cadets, who range in age from 14 to 17. “We hold drills for them, and we help them know what to expect when they do start riding on the truck,” Audrey said. “Because we’ve just recently finished our certifications, it’s less intimidating for them to ask questions.”
Audrey credits her training and experience as an EMT and cadet coordinator with growing her confidence and strengthening her leadership skills. “I feel like I’m able to take charge in emergencies now, whenever they arrive and of whatever type,” she said.
That’s why she encourages anyone who has ever thought about becoming an EMT to take the first step and contact SBES. “You’ll find that you’re capable of more than you realized,” she said. “And that’s pretty cool.”
South Branch Emergency Services is looking for volunteers like you! No experience is necessary, and training and gear are provided for members. Visit sbes365.org to sign up or learn more.