Stockton University Emergency Medical Services Comes Back to Life

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GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Stockton University’s Emergency Medical Services program was brought back to life this fall by a group of new recruits.

Geldy Núñez was the only member of the organization earlier this year, but she has worked to rebuild the program, Stockton said in a news release. Now, the show has around 20 members. Five new members were sworn in earlier this month.

Nunez, from Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, was an EMT at Edison before coming to Stockton and becoming captain of the university’s EMT team.

The number of calls she received as an EMT for Edison was high, but working with fewer calls at Stockton EMS has given her a different perspective when it comes to patient care.

“In those minutes, you need to make sure your patient is well enough to be transported,” Núñez said in a statement. “I learned with Stockton EMS the importance of patient contact and patient care. It’s making sure you ask all the right questions and get a full story of what’s going on before they get to the hospital.”

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The COVID-19 shutdown put the group in a difficult situation, Núñez said.

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“When we were shut down out of the blue in the spring of 2020, we didn’t know how to respond,” said Núñez, who graduated from Stockton with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice last year and is now pursuing a master’s degree in the same subject. “We try to train by Zoom. But it’s just not doable when you’re trying to show how you stop someone from bleeding if you don’t have something to train on.”

But with the help of Albert Handy, associate director of campus public safety, the group was able to rebuild the program.

“Earlier this year, we determined that this was a program that we wanted to get back on track because it is an important and useful public safety service to the university,” Handy said in a statement.

The university’s EMS team is a student-run organization that often responds to medical calls for attention until Galloway Emergency Medical Services, the primary responder to medical emergencies, can arrive with an ambulance, if necessary.

Students joining the EMS team do not have to have prior EMT training, as the club does some training during its monthly meetings.

But to serve as an active member of the university’s EMS team, students must be certified Emergency Medical Technicians or certified in First Aid and CPR, while also knowing how to use an AED.

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New members also get additional training and competency assessments when they start the program.

Sean Regan, a sophomore nursing student at Stockton from Manahawkin, said when he arrived in Stockton, the group had about 40 members. Teams would attend more than 20 varsity games, club meetings or open houses during a semester.

The group has yet to return calls this fall, but Regan, who is now a lieutenant in EMS, wants the group back to that point possibly by spring.

“My biggest goal is to get the staff back in order, retrain people, and get people to start working independently as their own EMTs,” Regan said. “I want people to show up, get involved, and let Stockton students know that we are back, that we exist, and that we are here to help.”

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