Graduate Student Returns to EMS Work amid COVID-19 Crisis

William Jutt sitting in EMT vehicle
June 22, 2020

When the need for health-care workers in New York was at its highest level during the pandemic, St. John’s University student William Jutt answered the call and returned to his volunteer position as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) at Bellmore-Merrick Emergency Medical Services, where he has served since 2017.

“I rescinded my school leave and now volunteer close to 20 hours each week to help the community,” William explained. Today, he continues working toward his Physician Assistant degree, and finds balancing work with his studies both strenuous and rewarding.

The number of COVID-19-related calls has thankfully been declining, but he still assists a few possible COVID-positive patients during every shift. Like all health-care workers, he remains vigilant to protect himself and his team. If the call is COVID-19-related, only one EMT and a driver respond to minimize exposure. Also, if the individual is considered high-risk, he wears not only the N95 respiratory mask, but also goggles and a gown. 

William Jutt in front of ambulance
William Jutt

“We take more precautions before arriving at each scene. I ask the patient a few questions, including whether they have been in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 and if they are experiencing fever, shortness of breath, or coughing.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences from Hofstra University, William came to St. John’s for graduate school. Before the transition to remote learning, he lived in the DePaul Houses, which he enjoyed thoroughly. 

William joined the intramural basketball team with several other students in the Physician Assistant program. “I have made so many new friends at St. John’s,” he said. “Joining the team was a great way to de-stress and build camaraderie with my classmates.”

Reflecting on the current situation, William said he is exhausted, but remains passionate about the service he provides. “It is difficult work; however, it is very satisfying to know that I make a difference in the lives of so many during this crisis.”