Peter McCann stands in front of a car while holding a jaws of life tool
Peter McCann

In January 2023, health professions student Peter McCann tested to earn his Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification. After demonstrating his ability to provide life-saving medical services in both written and skills-based exams, he left with the expectation that he wouldn’t know his score for a few days. Three hours later he learned that he had earned a coveted perfect score.

As one of the first graduates of Temple’s EMT training program, McCann credits the course with preparing him for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) Exam. Temple’s EMT training program is a six-credit course designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide basic life support emergency care.

McCann, now a sophomore, originally wanted to pursue a career in psychology, but an anatomy class taken his freshman year convinced him to study healthcare instead. He says that he wanted to become an EMT to earn the patient-contact hours he needs to attend gain acceptance into a physician assistant program. He recognized that as an EMT, he would be given more responsibility, and a larger scope of practice, than he would in similar healthcare positions available to undergraduate students. 

In addition to learning the fundamentals of emergency medical care in a traditional classroom environment, students in the program have the opportunity to learn from medical professionals in the field. While stationed at Temple University Hospital, McCann had the opportunity to perform CPR on a patient just two months after enrolling in the program. 

“On my second shift, they had a patient coming in who was in cardiac arrest,” he recalls. “The doctors and I were doing chest compressions, and I knew exactly what to do.”

Catherine Gibbs, assistant professor in the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and director of the EMT program, notes that McCann was an exemplary student in the inaugural program. “We are so proud of Peter, and we look forward to following his success,” she says.

Since earning his certificate just a few months ago, McCann has already accepted a position as an ER technician at Einstein Medical Center. “As an ER technician, I’ll be using the same skills as an EMT, I’ll just be using them in a hospital instead of out in the field. I’m excited to get started.”

McCann starts his new position in May, but in the meantime, he’s also using his certification to volunteer with his local emergency medical services agency. “It’s been great. I get to ride in the ambulance like any other EMT, and I can only do it because I got certified through the class," he says. "I really can’t stress enough how much this class has helped me. I was worried about how I was going to get the patient care hours I needed to get started in healthcare, and this EMT certification was exactly what I needed.”