Deacon Profile: Parker Hambright

Deacon Profile: Parker Hambright

Parker Hambright is a junior from Jacksonville, NC who is a student Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for Wake Forest. Part of the reason he was drawn to Wake Forest was because of the campus Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system. He became an EMT when he was a sophomore. 

Hambright enjoys being a part of the EMS at Wake Forest because he believes that it is an organization that genuinely gives back to the community. 

He feels like it is an inclusive group where the members truly care about others.  

What is an EMT?

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EMT stands for Emergency Medical Technician. We operate as any other EMT based EMS system in North Carolina except we are unable to transport patients and we have fewer medications we can administer.

Why did you want to be a part of the EMS system?

When Virginia Tech had the campus shooting nine years ago, the Virginia Tech EMS system was the first responders and made a huge impact on the campus.

That was one of the things that inspired me to be a part of the EMS system. Wake Forest has a strong student EMS system and I was actually partly drawn to Wake Forest because of it.

When were you first interested in becoming an EMT?

During my freshman year, I saw them driving around campus, which motivated me to start the process of joining.

My freshman year roommate was EMT certified and introduced me to the benefits of being EMT certified.

So, the summer after my freshman year, I took EMT courses, which were eight hours a day and five days a week for five weeks. Then I took my national certification, applied for reciprocity and then began to work for Wake Forest EMS at the beginning of my sophomore year.

Can you describe your job as an EMT right now?

The Wake Forest EMS members go through a probationary period.

During my first semester as a sophomore, I worked a significant amount of shifts where I shadowed full members.

Once the full members developed enough confidence in me, they signed off and promoted me. Now I am a full member of Wake Forest EMS.

I work shifts independently on weekdays and I work as a crew captain for certain shifts on the weekends.

Do you mostly work on campus?

Yes. We are only campus-based.

What is the process when you receive a call during your shifts?

We are dispatched through 911 or the campus police.

When we arrive to a call, whoever is the most-experienced, senior member working the shift typically runs the call and then the other three assist.

If we need more assistance, we are able to contact Forsyth EMS or transport them to student health.

How many shifts do you have per week?

Typical campus EMS members work about 15 to 20 hours a week.

Do you get paid?

No, we don’t get paid. It is a volunteer-based organization.

So are you especially busy on weekends?

(Laughs) Yes, Friday and Saturday nights are typically our highest call volume.

What kind of patients are you dealing with on those days?

Typically, about 40 percent of our calls are alcohol-related.

We also receive a significant amount of minor traumas, seizure, or other disorders.

But we receive anything ranging from anxiety attacks to faculty members with chest pains.

Are you annoyed that you have to respond to calls for people who drink too much?

It doesn’t really bother me because these calls can be funny sometimes.

Some people are pretty entertaining when they are drunk, so you can get good stories out of it.

But overall, I care about making campus a safer place so it doesn’t bother me to respond to calls  — no matter what they are.

What part of the job do you like the most?

That’s a hard question. There are a lot of different components of the job that I like.

First of all, I feel like everyone in the organization genuinely cares about each other and there is a strong camaraderie. It is a nice group to belong to and identify yourself with because I feel like people on campus view us in high respect, for the most part. It’s nice to identify yourself with a good group.

What drew me to EMS initially is that I really enjoyed going out on a call and being able to dictate and control the whole call. It gives me the ability to be able to make decisions on my own and have a positive impact on campus.

Can you describe the process of getting an EMT certificate?

There is a class that you have to take. Wake Forest offers it in the HES Department, or you can take it in a community college. The class can have varying time lengths, depending on where you take it.

Once you finish the class, if you receive a certain percentile on your test, the instructors will say you are eligible to take a national or state test in a testing center.

Once you pass the standardized test, you receive a certificate in the mail, then you can file for reciprocity. After this, you can apply for a job at certain EMS organizations.

Would you encourage other students to be an EMT?

Yes, definitely. We have people who aren’t even involved in pre-med that become members of Wake Forest EMS.

People are doing it because they genuinely care, they are not doing it to just to put on the resume.

I encourage students to join EMS as early as possible because it is a somewhat long process to take the class and become certified. If you really want to enjoy it as much as possible, start the process early.

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