We recently spoke with Malika Lewis, an aspiring doctor and college senior who started as an EMT this year at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, to ask about her career goals and how being an EMT fits in.
Here's what we learned about this frontline hero.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background, why you decided to become an EMT, and what it's been like at On Time so far?
I'm in college right now going for my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. I want to go deeper into the medical field after I graduate, but I want to get a degree first. My goal is to be somewhere in the medical field, I just don't really know where yet. Ultimately, I want to be a doctor someday. That course is a little slow, but I want to pursue it.
People are always helping me improve here every day. There's an abundance of people willing to help and guide you through things. That's a big thing for me.
What's it like balancing working as an EMT while going to college?
I go to school full-time and work as an EMT per diem. I get to make my own schedule on the 15th of every month for the next month coming. That fits best for me and my school schedule, rather than being part-time or full-time. Because I'm per-diem and my schedule is all over the place I get to work with many different people, in many different shifts. I've honestly met some great people that I really like.
We understand you had a virtual onboarding process --- can you tell us about that?
I started this year in late March/early April. It was a bit of a crazy time then. My orientation was originally put on pause for a while because of COVID-19. But we eventually did a Zoom orientation with other hires. I think my group was actually the first online orientation at On Time!
We went on Zoom and met Herbert, the Safety, Wellness & Employee Development. Over the course of four days he broke everything down for us; the rules, company policies, everything you need to do, etc.
What is On Time doing to make you feel safe as a frontline worker during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I've never felt ill-prepared going out into the field during the pandemic. Right away after getting my uniform I was fit tested for N-95 masks. There's always supplies there and somebody you can talk to if you don't have enough small gloves or any certain supplies. There are always gowns and masks available too.
What advice would you give a fellow college student thinking about entering the EMS field?
Get in where you can start. You can start volunteering at a hospital before getting your EMT certification too. There are so many options. I really like being an EMT because you're getting your foot in the door and learning the processes. You also get to interact with so many people.
The best advice I can say is to just start. And different paths work for different people.
Have more questions? Looking to become an EMR or EMT in New Jersey?
You can reach out to our Recruiter, Marlene, at ontimetransport.com/careers with anything else you'd like to know.
Thank you for reading.