Lancaster meets challenges head on

First responder Heidi Lancaster, 20, is working toward becoming a doctor in addition to being in the military.

First responder Heidi Lancaster, 20, is working toward becoming a doctor in addition to being in the military.

— You might wonder why someone becomes an emergency medical technician, firefighter, doctor or joins the military.

Heidi Lancaster, 20, is attempting to do all at once.

“I like giving back, and I hope that all I do inspires younger generations to do more and give back to the community as well,” Lancaster said.

Lancaster was born in Renton, but has been a Sunnyside girl for most of her life. After graduating high school, she joined the Army National Guard.

She is now an E-3.

Joining the military served two purposes, she said. The first was to serve her country, and the second was to ensure that her college degree would be paid for.

She is also a junior at Washington State University in Pullman, studying biology, pre-med and Spanish, though she already speaks Spanish.

Lancaster views Spanish as a way to communicate with some future patients.

This summer, Lancaster is working as an EMT with the Fire Department.

She passed her National Registered Emergency Medical Technician exam and her hands-on test on the first try.

As an EMT, Lancaster goes to all aid calls.

When her team responds to fires, her responsibility is to ensure firefighters are healthy and tend to them if they are injured.

“This gets my foot in the door for my medical degree,” Lancaster said. “I need 500 hours of working with patients.”

She’s not stopping there.

She is also preparing to become a firefighter. She does the same workouts and is learning the “basic stuff,” such as proper protocols for fire hydrants, so that next summer she can be a volunteer while she is on summer break.

Lancaster wants to use all this experience to become a doctor in emergency.

She sees herself working in a Level I trauma hospital in a city like New York City.

“When I have my degree, I will go anywhere that needs me,” she said. “But yeah, I want to go to somewhere like New York.”

Lancaster wants to help people regardless of their ability to pay for treatment.

In the instances where patients cannot afford treatment, she would like to work pro-bono so patients receive the best care she can provide without worrying about the money.

When she gets her medical degree, she would like to see herself continuing as a firefighter as much as she can.


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