Kristen Cammarata is a Field Supervisor at On Time Ambulance. She began as an EMT and quickly rose through the ranks. She now supervises more than 60 EMTs and MAV drivers. Kristen also teaches CPR courses and will soon be leading our Emergency Vehicle Operation courses as well. She has been described by her supervisor as “a keeper.”
This week we sat down with On Time Field Supervisor, Kristen Cammarata, to talk about training new EMTs, the On Time work environment, and what it takes to succeed in this field.
What are the duties of the Field Supervisor?
The Field Supervisor looks after day to day operations --- interacting with the field staff, taking corrective action if necessary, and basically handling any situation that may arise throughout the day with the field staff.
What advice would you give someone who’s thinking of being an EMT?
It’s a really rewarding job if your heart's in it. There’s so much room for career advancement within the medical field. And it’s more than just a job. But you have to be a certain type of person to be able to handle it. It will show in your patient care if you’re just doing it just for the paycheck.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
When you go above and beyond and you can tell that your patient is really grateful. Sometimes your patient might be a little scared, so it really makes you feel good when you get thanks from them or their family, and they tell you, “You truly care. This isn’t just a job for you.”
Like last week, we took a patient to a cancer treatment. The last thing we wanted was for her to worry about, “How are we going to get there?” and “What’s going to happen when we get there?”
So we just did our best to be totally reassuring and supportive. The patient was really thankful. Sometimes people are really embarrassed, but they don’t need to be. It’s nothing new for us, and it’s just part of being human.
View this post on Instagram
We safely transferred a 700lb patient to rehab with comfort to make sure she was taken care of when she became uneasy. . The patient mentioned how On Time is the only EMS company to bring her home without the fire department involved while treating her with respect and caring for her needs. She wished On Time assisted with her previous transport as she was injured with another agency. . Congratulations to this team for a great display of Caring in Motion. 🚑 . . . #OnTimeAmbulance #caringinmotion #ems
A post shared by On Time Ambulance (@ontimeambulance) on
What characteristics do you think are necessary to be a great EMT?I think you have to be patient, reassuring, caring, and friendly. You’re going to have times where you’re dealing with people who are anxious, afraid, or upset. But at the end of the day, you can’t let that affect you, your judgement, or how you interact with them. It’s not personal.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to do outdoorsy things like hiking. I like to read. I’m a huge animal lover. I definitely love anything with nature and animals. I have two cats. I love my cats.
We understand that you’re pursuing your master’s in social work. What made you want to get into that field?
Being a social worker is something that’s always been on the back of my mind. It’s something I’ve always wanted to pursue.
I guess I just really like helping as many people as I can on different levels. When you’re working in EMS it’s really an eye-opener to the many other ways people need help.
I’ve met a lot of social workers out in the field --- either when they’re discharging patients or sometimes if a kid has an unstable home life they might be involved. And I talk to them sometimes --- just to get background information and what not.
I see all the different ways they’re helping people and all the different job tasks they’re doing that’s not taught in the textbooks.
What's the vibe like at On Time?There's a lot of positive energy over there and you can definitely feel it when you walk in. People are very welcoming. Everyone greets each other. It's not uncomfortable in any way. The field staff always know that there’s someone they can reach out to if they have an issue. It’s a very friendly atmosphere.
How does management judge your performance?
We’re a company that’s really big on safety. So we're always evaluating our numbers. Whether it's number of incidents, driving reports, or employee engagement, we get direct feedback on our performance, and management sees all of that.
In Roselle, everyone is divided up into two teams: Team Red, and Team Blue. I'm in charge of Team Red. In our team meetings we get graded on a number of different metrics and we get a breakdown with all the graphs, statistics, charts, etc.
There's always room for improvement so these meetings let us know exactly what needs improvement, how we can work on it, and different ways we can get better.
You’ve been described by your peers as an excellent teacher. What’s your approach to mentoring EMTs?
I love teaching and training. Everyone learns a bit differently, and you can tell right off the bat if you need to go a certain pace with them.
Some people might not be great with technology or tablets or this and that, and I don’t want them to be too embarrassed to ask a question. It’s a two way street.
I'll tell them right away, “There are no stupid questions. Feel free to ask me anything. I’d rather you ask me for the right answer then just assume something.”
I really enjoy teaching, meeting people, showing new employees the right way to do things, and just building them up to be the best team player they can be.
How does working at On Time compare to working at other firms?
I’ve been around the block working with other NJ ambulance companies in the past, and I can tell you from experience that On Time really has their things together compared to other places. They have rewards that other companies don't offer. They value their employees and they’re constantly promoting from within --- something I haven’t seen anywhere else much.
At another company I used to work for, one day it was 95 degrees outside and the A/C was broken in the truck. We were stuck in that truck all day. If this ever happened at On Time, I’d bring it right back to the Fleet Department and be put into another truck. They address any problems right away.
What’s something that patients are always asking you?
The first thing they’ll say is, “Wow. You guys are really strong.” I get that all time time, especially when it’s two female EMTs doing the trip. We’ll get asked “Are you going to be able to lift me?”
So definitely strength, and also, “Do you enjoy this job?”
I always say, “Absolutely. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.”