In the Spotlight:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of a volunteer?

Volunteers work in a training capacity on truck shifts and at special events.  The volunteer often takes primary patient care, and is responsible for their progress through the training program. Volunteers are encouraged to ask lots of questions and work toward being able to work shifts and events on their own and ultimately be able to train others.

What are the shifts like?

Volunteers usually work 2-4 shifts per month during the academic year.  Overnight shifts are 14 hours, lasting from 5:00pm to 7:00am, and daylight shifts are 10 hours, lasting from 7:00am to 5:00pm.  Because all volunteers are full time students at the University, we do not schedule them for weekday daylight shifts; however, volunteers are encouraged to sign up for these daylight shifts.  A typical shift includes time for eating, training, calls, and on slower nights, time for schoolwork.

What about Events?

In addition to the truck shifts explained above, volunteers work approximately five events per month.  Events are different from 911 ambulance operations in that sometimes we will have an ambulance committed to the event, and sometimes we will be a non-transporting BLS team.  Some of the 300+  events that we cover include: football, BJC events, sporting events, THON, Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, and Special Olympics.

I know that I have to work truck shifts and events, but what’s the overall time commitment?

On average, including truck shifts, events, and training, volunteers spend approximately  12 to 20 hours a week.  This obviously fluctuates a great deal depending on if the volunteer has an overnight shift or if there are any large events such as football during that week.

You mentioned training – what is your training program like and what does it include?

UAS believes that continual personal and professional development is important for all of our personnel.  Our training program is adaptable for individuals who are fresh out of EMT class, as well as those with years of experience.   As a volunteer you are responsible for gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to function as an EMT within our service on your own, with others, and ultimately as one who can train others. To help you with

this, we have a large array of training sessions which cover a range of topics from basic service orientation to coordinating with other agencies.  Our large alumni base  provides many unique opportunities for training such as medical law, SimMan, and other various seminars.  Many opportunities are available for Penn State credit and/or continuing education credits.

How soon do I get paid?

This answer varies greatly depending on an individual’s knowledge and effort.  Prior experience, especially within Centre County, can expedite the progression from volunteer to paid staff; however on average this process usually takes a year.  To be promoted from volunteer to paid staff the volunteer must demonstrate an ability to function on their own and train others.  In addition they must successfully complete an orientation class and document proficiency in BLS skills and ambulance operations (including driving).

Students must be prepared to complete the volunteer training program in a maximum of two semesters (does not include summer sessions).

What are the unique opportunities available at UAS?

As part of the University, there are many unique opportunities available.  This service is primarily student staffed.  We have three full-time supervisors that are in charge of daily operations. Students are also given the opportunity for leadership experience within the company.  We have seven officer positions, all of which are staffed by students. Also, there is a student organization that most of our staff has joined which enables us to participate in many student activities on campus.  Finally, there are many opportunities for students to apply whatever skills they have.  We have frequent training sessions, public relations, quality improvement, and social committees.  There are also opportunities for students to assist with teaching courses on campus. 

If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact the Volunteer Supervisor:

Jess Vogler at jlv5124@psu.edu

 

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