Who ya gonna call? An Interview with student EMT Céili Donnelly

Nicole Letendre ‘23

Chief Features Editor

Céili Donnelly, a Holy Cross sophomore on the pre-med track, recently became a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) through the Central Piedmont Community College EMT Program, which ran approximately 2 months from May-July, and met once a week for 9 hours. Many Holy Cross students have gravitated towards the medical field and continue to serve their communities in a variety of ways. Céili herself is a Resident Assistant, an active member of SPUD, and is involved in admissions outreach. EMT’s witness a variety of medical conditions and are tasked with responding appropriately and offering the best possible care to patients. Céili reflected on her role as an EMT, and the valuable skills and experience she gained through her program. A huge thank you to Céili for all the important work she has done for providing care and compassion to patients, as well as for taking the time to reflect on her experiences. 

Photo courtesy of Céili Donnelly

Why did you choose to enroll in an EMT course, and what did it entail?

I chose to enroll in an EMT course because I am on the pre-med track and thought becoming an EMT would be a great way to learn more about the medical field and gain experience.

How did you first become interested in the medical field, and is there a particular medical question or problem you wish you could solve?

I became interested in the medical field from watching people I care about deal with illnesses and injuries and wishing I could do something more to help them. I also am interested in medicine because I hope to use my capabilities to serve underprivileged people who often suffer in silence and are sometimes overlooked by medical providers. One problem I wish I could solve would be finding a way to detect infections as soon as they arise so they can be treated as promptly as possible to avoid their most serious consequences.

How do you plan to use your EMT certification in the future? 

Over the summer, while obtaining my EMT certification, I also worked in the foods and beverages department at an amusement park called Carowinds near my house. Next summer, I am hoping to work at Carowinds as an EMT instead.

Do you have any advice for students interested in an EMT program, or considering a career in healthcare?

One piece of advice I would give students interested in an EMT program is to make sure to look into many options and choose the one that’s right for you. There are so many different types of programs, from those that run all school year, to those that take place just in the summer and may have a lot of online work (like the one I did), to those that are only on weekends, and I think it’s important to recognize what kind of student you are and which type of program best suits your schedule and learning style. I also would recommend finding a program that allows you to learn not only the information and practice the skills, but also gives you experience in the field. For example, the program that I took part in had us do four 13-13.5-hour ride alongs (often overnight or beginning before sunrise) with paramedics and EMTs from the city of Charlotte’s ambulance company and I think those experiences are what truly made me realize how much of a difference first responders make on a daily basis and that the medical field is a huge passion of mine.

What is the best and worst part about being an EMT?

I think the best part is being able to make a difference in a patient and their family’s lives during their most vulnerable moments, but that can also be one of the hardest parts of it because you see some really difficult situations and you see people in such great pain, both emotionally and physically, so often.

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