The following EMT Spotlight features EMT Bridget Ruby. Bridget graduated from Purdue University in May 2020 and just two months later became an EMT at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. We asked about how she got into the field, and what her experience with On Time has been like so far.
What inspired you to get into the healthcare field?
My grandma was a nurse so she’s always inspired me. I never saw her in the field, but I always heard her talk about it and the stories she has. I’ve also known for a long time that I wanted to be in the healthcare field, but never knew which direction to go in exactly. I always had the idea of being hands-on in the healthcare industry and liked helping people.
How was your application and onboarding process?
The onboarding process was great. It was with Orientation & Training Instructor, Erika Mendez, who is awesome. She relates to everybody, helpful, and does everything you need her to do. My orientation was held via Zoom for three days which was nice because I was in the comfort of my own home. It was a difficult balance but it was nice to be at home to get all the information down at first. On the last day, we went into the office and went over certain skills such as lifting and moving patients and the equipment I’d be using while out in the field. It was nice to finally be able to meet the people working there including Erika, the supervisors, and the team.
What do you like most about working as an EMT at On Time?
I work with so many different people. I don’t have a regular schedule that stays the same every week. It’s constantly changing. I’m always working with someone new and always happy who I’m working with. It really doesn’t matter honestly. It’s always a new person to meet, talk to, find out more about them, and they can learn more about you. Everyone I worked with has been great. Meeting new people every time I go to work is awesome. The schedule flexibility is amazing too. I work as an EMT per diem which is about four days a week. I get to pick my own schedule which is amazing because I’m home with my parents so things change, trips going on, etc. It’s nice to have that flexibility because On Time always needs people to come in and work, so I can always pick up shifts if I need to.
Do you feel safe working in EMS during a pandemic?
Yes. We have all the right equipment. I always say when we’re at specific hospitals that, “I could not imagine doing this job without the equipment we have,” because other companies don’t have the top notch equipment that we do. Everything from always having PPE and wipes on shift stocked ready for us to go. We never leave base without any equipment we’ll possibly need right there at base too. It’s really reassuring. If you do transport a COVID-19 patient, there’s flexibility in time where you obviously need to clean and decon really well. We’re also given time at the end of a run to “de-con” completely which is great. I never have to worry about it honestly.
We understand you plan to go to nursing school. Has working as an EMT helped to prepare you for that?
Yes, it has given me a lot of clinical experience. From observing the nurses’ work at the hospitals and knowing that this is what I could and want to do someday, it prepares me in the field with the patient care experience. It’s been really helpful to know On Time is a backbone to get me where I want to be with nursing. They’ve helped me gain the right experience to make me a strong applicant for nursing school and the clinical experience they’re looking for.
Can you describe your typical interactions with co-workers?
You get there and everyone says “hi” to you in the morning. You get on the road with your partner and you chat because you’re all alone all day with each other in a truck unless you have a patient. You really get to know people which is nice because everyone is super friendly and wants to get to know you. Everyone wants to be the best at their job that they can be, which is amazing to have. People who really care about their job even if it’s just a stepping stone. They care, want to be at work, and are excited to meet patients. In terms of the people, it just feels right. Everyone there is happy, wants to be at work, and helping people.
Is it nice being able to use high-tech EMS equipment?
Our equipment really sets us apart. You can tell when you go to different hospitals and see the other crews there. We by far have the best equipment. It helps in so many ways. The trucks drive smoother in terms of the bumps on the road. New Jersey roads aren’t always the best paved. The stretchers basically do all the loading for you, so if you have a heavy patient it’s really nice to have that equipment and not have to manually lift the stretcher all the way up with just you and your partner by yourselves because that’s a challenge. It adds to your normal daily routine by making it so much smoother. You’re not straining yourself. It also helps put the patient at ease.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about entering the EMS field?
The hardest part of being an EMT in the beginning was the physical touching of the patients because it's awkward to a lot of people at first. You learn exactly how to interact with the patients, and how to properly and safely move them. It’s a very good skill to have. It’s something you need to do as a nursing student also.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
If you’re thinking about applying to On Time, you should!
Interested in becoming an EMT in New Jersey? Have no healthcare experience but interested in entering the EMS field? Learn more about our career growth opportunities here.