Student finds personal fulfillment in EST program

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November 5, 2019
With the emergency services technology (EST) convocation quickly approaching, Sheldon Carter is looking forward to getting out in the field.
Sheldon Carter
He’s excited to start his practicum and put the skills he learned during his months at Lakeland to good use.
 
As a journeyman electrician with a young family, Carter began looking for a new career that was more personally rewarding, had an impact on his community, offered more stability and would create a better life for his family.

He’d heard good things about Lakeland College. The Vermilion campus wasn’t too far from home in Saskatoon, so he decided to enrol in the EST program, choosing the medical stream.

Carter’s reasons for choosing this career change, he explains, are personal.

“Spiritual might be the word to use for it. I want to leave something behind that isn’t just that I worked a job that paid me money. I want to be remembered by somebody somewhere to maybe have helped them or saved their life. I want my life to mean something.”

He chose the medical stream because he believes those life-saving skills are essential to the role of being a firefighter. Part of the program involved working a 12-hour shift at the Vermilion Hospital, an experience that gave him a new-found respect for the hard work that goes on in the medical field.

“It’s incredible,” Carter says. “You don’t fully understand what’s involved in the medical world until you’re actually immersed in it. What those people do for someone on a daily basis is amazing. They save your life before you even know it. You’re only seeing the one person, but there’s five other people behind the scenes arranging things for you, getting medication for you and making sure you’re booked for surgery. There’s a doctor dedicated to just keeping you breathing.”

Now, with convocation just around the corner and a practicum in Strathcona County afterwards, Carter says the program more than lived up to his expectations and was worth the hard work. His only regret, he says, is that it took him so long to commit to the program.

“I gave myself excuses for too long when I wanted to become a firefighter. If you want to do it, don’t make excuses. I commute every day from Lloydminster to be here, so it’s early mornings and late nights. But if I can do it, you can do it. It’s so rewarding,” says Carter, who shared his experience with others as a Student Ambassador.
 
“It’s very hard work. Anyone preparing to take this program should know that, but you will be better for it in the end.”
 
Photos: (Bottom) Sheldon Carter (left) listens to a patient's heart during a trauma lab.
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