Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
A: I start at 4:30 in the morning and do anywhere from five to 10 runs in a 10- to 12-hour shift. Most people work three days a week. We take turns driving and do basic scheduled runs such as transferring someone from one hospital to another, taking them home or to another care facility. We respond to traffic accidents and check on the welfare of people whose family or friends cannot reach them. We also transport psychiatric patients from hospital emergency rooms in the Twin Cities to psychiatric facilities throughout the state.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?
A: The role of an emergency medical technician (EMT) is to administer pre-hospital care and transport patients between facilities. We provide patient care to the sick and injured. Our ambulances are like mini emergency rooms. We can provide care for a critical patient or comfort and hold the hand of a hospice patient.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
A: We interact with the police and fire departments and rescue units as well as nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists and X-ray technicians in the Emergency Room. We also interact with families and the public.
Q: Why did you become an emergency medical technician?
A: I always knew I wanted to work in the medical field. My first idea was to become a nurse but I decided to try the emergency end of things. I liked the freedom of going different places, meeting different people and the variety of the job.
Q: What do you like about your work?
A: You meet a lot of different people; get to know your fire departments and even the patients we take on a regular basis for dialysis. We got to know one dialysis patient so well that we were the pallbearers at his funeral. There are days where you feel so much fulfillment. I still love this job after 20 years.