As part of our Year Of The Volunteer project, United Hatzalah will be highlighting volunteers from across the country who give of themselves and their time to help others and save lives each and every day. We want to recognize these heroes for the work that they do both as volunteer first responders and in their everyday lives.
Today, on International Students Day 2021, we are highlighting three students who are currently enrolled in our NREMT course which began last month. The National Registry Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT) program is offered at United Hatzalah to provide the opportunity, in English, to become a certified EMT in Israel and gain lifesaving skills with international certification.
Rivka Miriam Reiffman, Ma’ale Adumim
I made Aliyah in 2018 with my family from Denver, Colorado and we currently live in Ma’ale Adumim. I was thinking about doing National Service after seminary and although I was thinking about something in International Politics, I ended up at an interview in the United Hatzalah building and stayed to listen to their presentation. I immediately fell in love with the organization. When a position opened up on the Donor Stewardship team soon after, I did my service with them for two years. Three months ago, they took me on with a full-time position.
I am so inspired by the emergency first responders I meet on a daily basis, so I recently decided to enroll in the NREMT course that opened last month. I have been interested in medicine all my life, but I am still not sure I want to do it as a career. I feel that becoming an EMT is a great opportunity to satisfy that hobby. I decided on the NREMT course because I feel that my Hebrew still isn’t up to par. I wanted to understand everything, especially the medical terminology, in my native tongue.
We have had two in-session meetings so far. You need to do a lot of work at home to prepare for each class, which takes me about 8 hours a week, so it is a big time commitment. The information isn’t that complicated, but you need to take the time to study the material to prepare for each class. In the sessions, we already learned CPR (Adult and Child), AED usage, article ventilation, and advanced airways.
For future classes, I am really looking forward to learning about emergency childbirth. Those are the happiest type of emergencies you can go to.
Learning, in general, gives me so much appreciation of how complex the body is. If one thing isn’t working properly, our body can’t function as it should. You don’t know how much you don’t know until you start learning.
I have always wanted to be able to volunteer for my community and to help people in their time of need. I made Aliyah 16 years ago from Elizabeth, New Jersey, but for 14 of those years, I was commuting back and forth to the U.S. for work. Time was not a luxury.
However, in the last two years, I started working from home and I finally have the flexibility to do the course.
There is a big need for more first responders where I live in the south. My community of Even Shmuel is located around four kilometers south of Kiryat Gat, so I need to drive over an hour to Jerusalem every time we have an in-person session. The course is from 5:30 pm-10:30 pm, so I usually don’t get home until midnight. This doesn’t include the coursework you need to do at home to prepare, so it is definitely a big time commitment. I also am married with seven kids.
I would have loved for a course to be closer to my home, so I hope there will be more opportunities in the future for courses in English in the south of Israel. Although it is a challenge, if there is something you really want to do, you do it. I am really looking forward to becoming an EMT in the near future.
I live in Rehovot and am married with four kids. I made Aliyah from Long Island, New York, just over two years ago. Studying to become an EMT in United Hatzalah is something I am very passionate about. It is something that I have always wanted to do. My career choice has been guided by wanting to help people and I am already familiar with most of the material in the NREMT course as I am a certified Physician Assistant (PA) in the U.S.
For those who don’t know, a Physician Assistant is a licensed medical professional that diagnoses illness, develops and manages treatment plans, prescribes medications, and can perform minor procedures. We often serve as a patient’s principal care provider.
Although it is a big commitment to drive to the course in Jerusalem from Rehovot, which is about an hour’s drive, it is a sacrifice that has a big reward. I love helping people and practicing medicine and still work as a PA in Telemedicine for nursing homes in the U.S.
What is new to me, however, is how to respond in a public space. I have always practiced within a hospital’s protocol. It is very different when you are dealing with an intense situation, such as an MCI (Mass Causality Incident), for example. So I am really looking forward to the upcoming trauma and MCI training.
Overall, I am extremely passionate about wanting to help people and give back in whatever way I can.
We really appreciate our current NREMT students Rivka, Daniel, and Adina for taking the time to speak with us!
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