Work-force ready: San Benito EMT students gain real-life experience

February 20, 2019

SAN BENITO — To the untrained eye, it merely looks like scribbles on a piece of paper.

But to certified electrocardiogram emergency medical technicians, it’s a missing piece of the puzzle that could help save their patient’s life.

Beginning this year, San Benito CISD’s emergency medical technician students will graduate with a new, additional certification.

About 11 students are going to learn how to diagnose cardiovascular conditions and operate electrocardiogram machines that monitor the heart’s performance by attaching wires and electrodes to patient’s chest, arms and legs.

According to career and technical education health science teacher Jaime Ibarra, the certification will help students during cardiological emergencies, such as heart attacks, chest pains or cardiovascular related emergencies that are normally presented during pre-hospital settings.

The electrocardiogram certification will be incorporated in the school’s EMT program along with three other certifications and is technically a 15-hour course.

“ Having these certifications with experience puts the students more at market for better patient care and of course into the workforce environment,” Ibarra said.

Addressing misconceptions

High School senior Kayleigh Quintero said a lot of people think EMT’s just take patients from the scene to the hospital, but there is more involved during the trip.

“ We get patients in really unstable conditions where you don’t know what’s wrong with them and they don’t know what’s wrong with themselves, so you actually kind of have to be a therapist, doctor and a nurse all at once for them,” Quintero said.

Outside of the conventional classroom setting

High school senior Enrique Guerra said what he enjoys most about the program is being able to gain real-life experience.

“ We get to gain so much experience while we’re still in high school because we actually get to go out there and interact with other patients and members of the community like police officers and firefighters,” Guerra said.

Guerra plans to pursue paramedicine after he graduates high school and sees the EMT program as a stepping stone in his future career.

Ibarra said his goal is to offer students as many certifications as possible so they can understand the type of care they’re going to be exposed to in their career, become more marketable for the workforce and gain more competence in health care in general.


An electrocardiography is a way to measure the electrical activity of the heart by attaching wires and electrodes to a patient’s chest, arms and legs.

With electrocardiograms (EKG), health professionals are able to check heart rhythm, see if there’s poor blood flow to the heart muscle, diagnose a heart attack and check for abnormalities.