First responder is first choice for Valedictorian Courtney Puterman

courtney-putermanFrom a young age, Courtney Puterman wanted to be a first responder. Whenever a police car, fire truck or ambulance would drive through her street, Courtney would press her face to the window, curious about what was happening.

“I wanted to be in a profession where I was going to make a difference and be able to help people,” said Courtney, who decided to pursue a Paramedic career and applied to the Fleming College program. “I was fortunate to be accepted and am very grateful for it as I truly feel like this was the right choice for me.”

Courtney, who is graduating from Fleming College next week, said her two years in the program flew by. “I can still remember who I sat beside on the very first day and how nervous I was for our first set of final exams. My experience though was really amazing and I owe a lot of that to my peers and staff,” said Courtney. “Our program is a smaller one, which makes it very tight-knit; you can lean on anyone for support and you make some amazing friends.”

Courtney’s most memorable experience was competing in the National Paramedic Competition in Ottawa this spring, where she was one of four representing Fleming College. Courtney said the competition helped her gain more confidence in her skill and ability by putting her education to the test.

“It was also such an exciting weekend as many of my peers and friends from the program traveled to Ottawa in order to cheer us on,” she said. “It was also really exciting to have your teachers there pushing you and cheering you on. They made it very clear that they were proud of us and I think I can speak for the other three competitors as well when I say how awesome that felt. Overall, it was the perfect weekend to wrap up these last two years.”

Courtney, who recommends the Paramedic program to others, said the skills she gained at Fleming include: how to extricate patients from vehicles, how to triage patients in multi-causality incidents, how to do CPR in a moving ambulance, and how to tell someone their loved one has passed away or that they’re having a massive heart attack.

“But like most programs in the School of Health and Wellness, I learnt how to be compassionate, empathetic, professional, an advocate and a leader,” she added.

When Courtney is not working at Oxford County Paramedic Services or studying for the provincial exam in June, she is busy writing her Valedictorian speech for convocation.

The Paramedic graduate was selected to be Valedictorian for the School of Health and Wellness ceremony on Thursday, June 8 at 10 a.m. She will be speaking to graduates from the Paramedic, Massage Therapy, Personal Support Worker, and Practical Nursing programs.

“Each individual put in a lot of effort to be sitting in a seat at convocation and I want my speech to reflect that,” she said. “I want everyone to feel a sense of pride for what they have achieved.”

Courtney also feels pride for receiving this honour at convocation. “I was really honoured when I found out that I was even being nominated,” said Courtney. “I’m very appreciative of this opportunity and I’m really hoping that I do it justice for all the programs.”