Ever wonder about a career in EMS? Know someone who might be interested? We thought it might be fun to learn directly from the people doing this heroic work. So we asked ten current EMTs, "What is your advice to someone just starting out in the field?"
Here are ten short bits of wisdom straight from ten real NJ EMTs. Check out what they had to say.
1. Take your time.
“Take your time with each patient and make sure that safety is the number one priority. And make sure you’re comfortable taking basic vital signs for patients.”
- Michael Kortenhaus, EMT in Roselle, NJ
2. Always ask questions (even after training).
“It’s easier to ask a question than to do something wrong.”
- Ernest Alexander Jr., EMT in Egg Harbor City, NJ
3. Remain aware and alert at all times.
“Be aware of everything going on around you. Nothing is cookie-cutter clean in this business. Be quick on your feet with quick decisions -- it’s someone’s life you’re dealing with. You can go to school as an A student and you get into the field and be a deer in headlights. Really pay attention and have common sense.”
- Kevin Adams, Field Training Officer in Voorhees, NJ
4. Don’t doubt yourself. And get that driving experience under your belt.
“Getting as much road experience as you can is important because the vehicles in the fleet can be very large. And don’t doubt yourself. Let your training kick in and remember that you can do this.”
- Kemoy Davidson, Field Supervisor in Roselle, NJ
5. Speak up.
“One of the biggest challenges I see with new EMTs is a lack of confidence. It’s expected. It’s a new environment, you’re meeting new people, and you’re in a truck with someone for 10 hours you’ve never met before. It’s okay to ask for help. No one is going to look down on you if you’re not sure of something.
I think when a lot of new EMTs come in, they’re hesitant to dive in. Take initiative. Speak up and communicate. Talk with your partner, patients, and staff. It’ll become a skill.”
- Kristen Cammarata, North Jersey Operations Manager in Roselle, NJ
6. Get comfortable physically interacting with patients.
“The hardest part for me in the beginning was the physical interaction of the patients. It’s a very awkward concept for some people at first. But you’ll learn how to properly interact, move them, and appropriately touch a patient, of course.”
- Bridget Ruby, EMT in Roselle, NJ
7. You are a backbone for some of these people.
“You see a lot of ‘people-situations.’ Whether it’s hospice, coming out of injury into rehab, or how illnesses affect a family, it’s nice to be the ones who put a smile on their face to bring them home or where they’ll be spending time. As an EMT, you give them confidence and act as a backbone for some of these patients. It’s a cool thing to be a part of.”
- Joe Anderson, Field Supervisor in Freehold, NJ
8. You are part of a team.
“Being an EMT means being surrounded by other healthcare workers --- it’s not just you by yourself. There are facility partners, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and other EMTs. It’s a team aspect. The recognition for the work you do is not just yourself. It’s with a community of other healthcare providers.”
- Jose Lopez, Field Supervisor in Freehold, NJ
9. Go for it.
“Take care of your patients, transport them to their destination safely, and make sure everything is intact. It’s a very rewarding job. You’ll meet very nice people -- patients included. You’ll also see many different things. Go for it and don’t second guess it.”
- Leawon Banks, EMT in Roselle, NJ
10. You will learn a lot.
Between the ER, the wound care center, the dialysis center, and the doctor’s office, you really see the versatility that comes along with being an EMT.
- Jen Carrovillano, EMT in Roselle, NJ
Looking to become an EMT in New Jersey? Come join our team at On Time Ambulance and expect greatness.