Allison Brophy is a junior nursing major and an emergency medical technician who serves as chief of Drexel’s Emergency Medical Services.
The Triangle: What’s your story? What brought you to Drexel?
Allison Brophy: What brought me to Drexel was the co-op program, to be honest. I knew I wanted to do nursing, and I figured there are so many different nursing schools that I might as well go to a school that offers some sort of unique experience that puts me kind of ahead of most kids at other schools. And I thought that between Northeastern [University] and Drexel with co-op opportunities, there is really no one else that had it. And I’d never really been to Philly or experienced Philly much, and I thought it would be a nice change of scenery from Connecticut.
TT: What made you want to become an EMT?
AB: I was always interested in the emergency critical care side of things, and obviously [being] a nursing major is great experience because I get patient care and some experience while at school that will help me in my pursuits to be a nurse after graduating and moving on to be a nurse practitioner. It’s just that general interest of patient care, and it’s a very unique opportunity that I felt gave me an opportunity that really benefits my academics and profession as well as giving me a nice little exciting hobby on the side that I enjoy a lot.
TT: When did you decide that you would join Drexel’s EMS?
AB: My freshman year, actually. It was around, I believe, the wintertime. One of my friends actually brought me along to one of the meetings because I had no idea they actually existed, and I was immediately thrown in. Early on I took on responsibilities as the scheduling coordinator, and then I moved my way up to secretary and then captain and then chief.
TT: What are your duties as chief?
AB: It’s hard to put one single job description on it. A lot of it has to do with two categories: one is the relationship with Drexel, including the relationships we have with Drexel Police because we work closely with them, and the relationship we have with Public Safety because we work very closely with them and they’re actually who got us started. They’re really the reason we are where we are today because if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t even exist, since we’re fairly new. And then there’s also the job of operationally making sure everything runs smoothly, as far as having shifts covered every week on our schedule, bringing in new members, and keeping the organization rolling along and growing.
TT: Do you have any goals for this year as chief?
AB: Oh, yes. A major goal is to bring in more members and just grow our organization as a whole. We are also working on this fall getting a CPR program started on campus, so we’ll be teaming up with the DAC to teach classes for students and faculty and staff. Right now, there’s not an abundance of opportunities for any student or staff member to get certified in CPR. We’re looking to grow that. We also are looking to start our own in-house training program, as far as working with Hahnemann Hospital and sort of giving a training for members as a retention program and getting them continuing education as they’re a member of our service. That’s what a lot of other services do that are more well developed than ours. They have their own training and continuing education. So things like wilderness training that they might not use necessarily on campus, but that they might benefit themselves from using one day as they grow as an EMT or even as someone in a health professional field.
We’re also looking to move, get some more space. And we’re also fundraising. The biggest thing, I’d say, that’s a push for us, fundraising wise, is to get a new vehicle. Right now we are graciously using a donated vehicle from Drexel that’s a little soft on the knees, but we’ve been making it work. We’re trying to fundraise on our own and partner with some other local universities that have EMS to raise money and purchase our own SUV to start off with so we can really have enough space and the capabilities to do what we need.
TT: What are some challenges that your job faces?
AB: Well, it’s always a challenge being a student organization that’s so unique from others because we don’t fit the cookie-cutter mold for what defines a student organization. Our place within the University is so unique that over the years it’s been challenging because some people don’t really understand who we are and what we do. I’m happy to say that that’s greatly changing, as we’ve been around a little bit longer because Public Safety is a huge, huge part of us because they support us 100 percent. We work closely with them, but then the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee, they also fund us because we are, in fact, a student-run organization. Building the relationship with them has really helped make us fit in better. I think that one of the hardest things is just people not understanding who we are and what we do on campus in general. It’s difficult to wrap your head around and getting the resources we need, but I can’t complain too much because I think it’s improving tremendously since I’ve been a member.
TT: What are you involved with outside of Drexel EMS?
AB: I am in a sorority on campus, Delta Phi Epsilon. I’m a member of SNAP, the Student Nurse Association of Pennsylvania. Those are the two major things. I try to be involved as much as I can. I think as I’ve taken a leadership role in Drexel EMS, I haven’t been able to do as much. I used to play on the club soccer team, but I had to cut back on a few things in order to accommodate for Drexel EMS.
TT: What’s your favorite thing to do in Philadelphia?
AB: My favorite thing is to actually go to Reading Terminal Market. I love that place. I wish there were more of them. I obviously get all of my produce there, but just going and looking at things and scoping out what to do — it’s the experience, I think, going there. It’s one of those things I look forward to on the weekends=, to go get groceries or go get lunch with a friend, because being on Drexel’s campus here is kind of set away from Center City, and I think Reading Terminal is the hub. It’s such a big meeting, gathering place in the city that’s a change of pace from being on campus.
TT: Where do you see yourself in five years?
AB: In five years I see myself as a nurse, probably in an emergency department or critical care. I’d hope to be back in grad school to get my nurse practitioner [degree]. I probably see myself in Philadelphia still because right now I work at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and I’d love to stay there after I graduate and just start building my professional work resume and get my foot in the door for my career. So I see myself living in Philadelphia and going to grad school here.
TT: What is something that people don’t know about you?
AB: I have a passion for photography and won Student Photographer of the Year while in high school. A card company has mass-produced greeting cards using my photographs.
Triangle Talks is a weekly column that highlights members of the Drexel community.