Our students say it best. Hear why they chose Creighton EMS, and why you should too.
What was it like volunteering at the COVID-19 community vaccine clinic at Creighton?
Marj Alhumayed, who will graduate from Creighton’s undergraduate degree program in emergency medical services in August, said volunteering as an immunizer at the COVID-19 community vaccine clinic at Creighton sends an important message.
“COVID has affected us in so many ways,” Alhumayed said. “I think this is a great opportunity to help people and to take a step to fight this pandemic.”
Alhumayed, who is from Saudi Arabia, said she chose Creighton’s EMS program because of its international reputation. She has not been disappointed. “The program is outstanding, and the faculty are excellent,” she said.
While Alhumayed plans to return to Saudi Arabia after graduating, she is currently living in Omaha with her husband and two children, ages 5 and 18 months. She said her service at the clinic also has made an impression on her 5-year-old daughter.
“When my family dropped me off this morning, she was asking, ‘Mom are you going to give people the vaccine?’” Alhumayed said. “When I said ‘yes,’ she was like, ‘Be kind; don’t hurt them.’”
Of course, her daughter knew that she could count on Mom to treat people well.
“She always says, ‘Mom, I’m proud of you.’”
‘It’s a Great Thing’
Volunteering at the COVID-19 community vaccine clinic at Creighton’s Rasmussen Center is personal for 2019 EMS graduate Luke Wiedmayer. His parents and brother contracted the virus earlier this year.
“They’re all OK; they made it out all right, fortunately enough,” Wiedmayer said. “I was with them when they were going through it. It was definitely a little scary.”
Wiedmayer never contracted the virus, and is grateful that his family never developed severe symptoms.
Now, he’s paying it back at the COVID-19 clinic at Creighton – giving others some peace of mind.
“Being able to do this and get people vaccinated is a great thing,” he said. “It’s good to see the number of people who are coming out.”
Wiedmayer is currently working at Midwest Medical Transport Company in Omaha and is looking to apply to medical school.
‘My Way to Repay the Community’
Sarah Knight and Tina Zhang, seniors in Creighton’s undergraduate program in emergency medical services, worked side by side at the COVID-19 community vaccine clinic at Creighton, gladly sharing their time and talents.
“I’m a paramedic,” said Zhang. “And you don’t get into this field unless you want to care for people and give back to your community. Doing this COVID clinic is my part of giving back to what Creighton and the Omaha community have given me. This is my way to repay the community.”
“This is such an incredible thing that Creighton has put together,” she said. “I feel honored that I’m in a position to help with this.”
Knight said the opportunity for students to volunteer at the clinic is one of the many ways a Creighton education extends beyond the classroom and into the community.
“It’s easy to get caught up in the textbooks, but to see how you can make an impact … it’s incredible,” she said.
Zhang, who also serves as an adjunct instructor in Creighton’s 16-week Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program, said the clinic is an extension of Creighton’s Jesuit mission to serve others, especially during times of great need, such as the pandemic.
“I think everyone realizes this is a step in the right direction to getting things back to normal,” Zhang said. “And it’s not just about the patients’ physical health; it’s their social health and mental health. It’s that holistic view of caring for the whole person that’s so important here at Creighton.”
Knight, who is from Peoria, Illinois, will graduate with her bachelor’s degree in EMS with a minor in neuroscience. Zhang, who is from Seattle, Washington, is graduating with a bachelor’s in EMS with a minor in health administration and policy. She is also currently serving as a paramedic with the Hamburg, Iowa, Fire and Rescue.
‘People are People’
Saleh Al Sari’s hometown of Abha, a city in southwestern Saudi Arabia, is thousands of miles from Omaha, but the global spread of the COVID-19 virus and its effects hit home, even inside Creighton’s Rasmussen Center.
“People are people,” said Al Sari, a senior in Creighton’s Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program, “and all of us have been affected by this virus in some way. I’m glad I had this opportunity to help people. I know, under their masks, they are smiling.”
Al Sari said he was attracted to Creighton’s EMS program because of its reputation as one of the top programs of its kind. He said he has not been disappointed. “The faculty are excellent,” he said. “They are very knowledgeable, and do a great job of teaching us the material.”
Al Sari looks to pay that back to others. After he graduates, he plans to return to his hometown to teach. And he will be sure to remember the experience at the vaccine clinic.
“This was really well organized,” he said. “I’m glad I had the opportunity to help.”
“It’s honestly been great,” said Ervin Buhian, a junior in Creighton’s Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medical Services program. “I love the reaction when people get the vaccine. You can tell it gives them hope for the future.”
Buhian is from American Samoa, a series of islands in the south-central Pacific Ocean, about 2,000 miles southwest of Hawaii, that is an unincorporated U.S. territory. He became a U.S. citizen through his service in the military; he served four years of active duty as an Army combat medic and now serves in the Army Reserves.
His hope is to go to medical school, preferably at Creighton.
Volunteering at the clinic, Buhian said, has not only provided him an opportunity to serve others, it has given him insights into his coming career – working side by side with other future health professionals in a collaborative environment.
“Working in a hospital, it’s not just going to be paramedics working by themselves,” Buhian said. “It’s paramedics working with the nurses in the ER, working with the physicians and so on and so forth.
“Here, I’m working as an EMS immunizer. But I’m also working with the pharmacy students, who are drawing up our medications. I’m working with other volunteers from the nursing program. It really helps me understand what that collaboration looks like and what we can accomplish together.”
Why did you choose Creighton for your EMS education?
A number of reasons which include the online program and flexibility it offers to adult learners. Prior to applying to the graduate program I met with the staff who helped me discern if the program was right for me. They helped me understand how the program might benefit me professionally and personally.
- Lee Varner, MSEMS‘16
What sets Creighton’s EMS program apart from other programs?
“Experience and reputation as a trusted EMS educational program. The Creighton program has helped me as I work with EMS leaders and other stakeholders across the country. With the many changes taking place in health care and EMS, the Creighton program prepared me to meet those challenges.”
- Lee Varner, MSEMS’16
What’s great about Creighton’s EMS faculty?
“The passion for EMS is found in almost all aspects of the undergrad and graduate programs. In addition, the commitment to learning, in particular for the adult or non traditional student.”
- Lee Varner, MSEMS’16
Why should a prospective student choose Creighton EMS?
“Creighton offers a dedicated team of professionals to support the student. This includes the administrative staff who play an important role in the planning and the other needs of the student.” - Lee Varner, MSEMS’16