Paramedic & Field Training Officer
Other Titles & Roles
Member, American Ambulance Association Education Committee
Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Warren, PA. I had three brothers and we were all very active in sports, theater and community activities. We had family vacations that allowed us to explore the history and splendor of the US. Growing up, I believe we learned the value of diversity and the importance of acceptance of those different than us. We had several students from abroad stay with us for over 6 months each as well as youth sports teams that would travel in town from various states. We also would travel and stay at the homes of people we did not know for high school events that lasted more than two days. I grew up surrounded by people that treated individuals well. We were taught to believe we were not better than others.
Your history with EMS
I have been involved in EMS since 2005 when I took my EMT course. I matriculated to Paramedic in 2008-2009. I have held positions as EMT, EMT-IV, Paramedic, Fire Paramedic, Flight Paramedic, Field Training, Training Officer and Clinical Services Manager. I had been in law enforcement from 1991 till 2003. It was a dark time in my life and I needed to make changes in my life in order to be more positive and love life again. I learned the importance of Resilience and Redemption in life.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy sharing my story with students and co-workers and being a resource or conduit to resources for education, mental health and more. I always am learning new things and I have an understanding that I don’t know what I don’t know. I try to be very positive despite the times when circumstances could be negative or difficult to navigate.
What is your biggest professional challenge?
I feel that my biggest professional challenge is to stay positive in an environment that is often a dog-eat-dog environment. I like having opportunities to be involved and don’t expect to receive anything from helping people or the organizations for which I work.
What is your typical day like?
When not on shift, I can be busy with our two grandchildren, John Ross and Sophia or our two Rescue dogs, Elsa and Bianka, also, I love spending time with my wife. We often do runs that benefit different charities. I sing in my church ensemble at times. I am the founder of When Failure Isn’t an option- Finding your Joy, which is a social media website that shares stories of hope, research and lets people know they are not alone. I share resources and organizations that can possibly be of assistance to people in the public safety community. I also founded http://www.emsimprov.com which is a website and a social media page emsimprov.com I found that Improv has helped me with social anxiety and depression. I have researched and taken several psychology courses and have found that the cognitive behavioral benefits of Improv are amazing. We know that increased collaboration, improved communication benefit individuals. I also have found that it improves my interactions with patients, co-workers, ER staff and with family. This is key to Resilience- It can improve workplace dynamics and overall happiness.
What are your predictions for EMS 10 years from now?
I believe that in about 10 years, EMS will be a field of Paramedic Practitioners and that the required education minimums and practical hours with physicians and or mid-level providers will increase. With new reimbursement and transport options coming soon I believe we are moving closer to a better and potentially less expensive healthcare model. I hope that we move away from the department of transportation and to an organization specifically dedicated to emergency medicine or at the very least healthcare as the primary mission.
What advice would you give to someone new to EMS?
I would say please stay humble and remember that you must take care of yourself both physically and mentally before you truly can help others. Please don’t stop learning because medicine is constantly changing and with evidence based medicine- change will be inevitable. We need to be flexible.