Days are long but nights are longer as Bryn Bourne, a second year paramedic student at Humber North, arrives back home after a 12-hour shift to his roommates making breakfast and waking up for their morning classes.

“Paramedic students have two average days”, said Bourne, “days where they work in the field and off days where they study.”

Paramedic students at Humber do what are called ride-outs, where students apply to join a certified paramedic crew in different regions of the GTA for work experience. They graduate with over 550 hours of work experience and the skills they need to save lives.

“I was nervous for the first couple of hours (during my first ride-out). Since then I grew accustomed to it. There are still calls where I am a little uncomfortable but I have a crew backing me up to help guide me through it,” said Bourne.

A typical ride out, Bourne said, starts with a truck check to make sure the paramedics have everything they need and to make sure it is in working order. After that they are on call and wait until they are needed. 

“Depending on the area you are working in, certain calls are more common, if you are out in places with a lot of old people for example you’ll deal with more heart attacks than shootings, but you have to be prepared for both,” said Bourne. 

When they arrive on scene they deal with the patient and transport them to the hospital. After they transport them they write out all the documentation and notes while they begin cleaning the back. 

Before COVID cleaning the back of the ambulance was very important, but Bourne has found that COVID has made him more aware of its importance.

 “After every call we have to clean the back of the (ambulance) and it has to be squeaky clean but with the threat of COVID it encourages us to do an even better job cleaning,” said Bourne

Once everything is done they inform dispatch and wait for their next call. Time between calls could be 20 minutes to a couple of hours. During that time Bourne will eat and try to study.

Ride-out shifts happen three times a week and are typically 12 hours long. “In my experience shifts can last longer than 12 hours, if you get a call 30 minutes before the end you have to go and just hope it doesn’t take another hour,” said Bourne. 

Shifts have a large range of time they can happen. Bourne has had shifts from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., as well as shifts from seven a.m to seven p.m. Despite the long hours Borne enjoys doing it.

“I like helping people, and this is kinda like helping people on their worst day, so (being a paramedic) is a natural extension for me,” said Bourne.


Helping people further, Bourne is a pass leader. A pass leader is a second year student who helps the first year students get acclimated to the program. Pass leaders help first year students in the skill lab, a place in Humber where paramedic students train their skills a couple times a week. They also run virtual sessions to further help first years study and guide them through things they are having trouble with. Only 11 out of the 56 students in second year paramedics are pass leaders, said Bourne. 

On top of ride-outs and being a pass leader Bourne still has classes to study for as well as attend, taking the remainder of his time, “If I had to guess right now I only get one to two hours a week of free time…I do take breaks in between studying every few hours to make food or watch YouTube,” said Bourne. 

During his scarce free time Bourne will typically play video games with a few of his classmates to relax. “(COVID) has impacted the collaborative and community aspect of class. In our first year we were all pretty tight, we all pushed each other to try harder and push each other further. Hopefully we can bring that back soon,” said Bourne.

“I watch some Netflix or some Futurama with my roommates but I don’t really have time for that,” said Bourne. “Last semester I played guitar and even brought a keyboard down but I don’t have the mental power right now to learn any new songs.”

Bourne and other second year paramedic students graduate after this semester and will enter the workforce as students who became healthcare professionals during COVID.