Ride-alongs' give students taste of real-life emergencies
PRACTICE RUN Delisha McClelland, left, a junior at Ross Collins Career &Technical Center, checks blood pressure during a practice run with the assistance of Metro Ambulance paramedic Tammy Sheffield. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By Chris Allen Baker / staff writer
March 18, 2002
When Metro Ambulance reached the scene of an automobile accident at 17th Avenue and 19th Street, Delisha McClelland's heart already was racing with excitement.
The 17-year-old Meridian High School junior accompanied an emergency medical technician and a paramedic, watching them as they treated the injured at the accident.
Today, McClelland and 15 other high school students return to class after spending part of their spring break last week riding along with paramedics and EMTs on emergency calls.
The ride-alongs were part of the Allied Health program at Ross Collins Career &Technical Center. The program offers students a look at job opportunities in the medical field.
Besides the accident call, McClelland said her shift included transporting elderly patients and other routine calls. She was allowed to use the equipment in the ambulance.
McClelland, who is thinking about becoming a registered nurse, said the ambulance ride inspired her to also consider becoming a paramedic. She said she wants "to help people in need."
Olusola Isikalu, 16, said her 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. shift on March 11 didn't include an accident scene. But, she said, she did have a chance to help a woman who had fallen.
Isikalu said she could see herself as a paramedic or EMT as a part-time job.
Johnny Williamson, operations manager at Metro Ambulance, said the ride-along program includes almost all of the local schools and has been in operation about four years.
Students are assigned to an ambulance and primarily observe the paramedics' actions. Students are allowed to do basic chores, such as taking blood pressure or loading a stretcher.