Dayle Gibson is a Field Supervisor at On Time Ambulance. Starting as an EMT with the company in 2019, Dayle has held the roles of EMT Mentor, Field Training Officer, and now Field Supervisor. We caught up with Dayle to ask about what motivates her, the unique learning experiences in EMS, and what it takes to succeed in the field.
How did you become an EMT? What inspired you to get into this line of work?
My mom is a nurse, my dad works in hospitals, and my brother was working hard trying to join our local fire department, so you could say I grew up around healthcare and frontline workers.
As a kid, my parents would play a game around the dinner table, How Many Body Parts Can You Name?
When I got older, I became a lifeguard and learned CPR, and I even tagged along to my mom's CPR classes with all the nurses and doctors in her office. That planted the seed.
As an adult, I once came upon a motor vehicle accident where a pedestrian had been struck. I knew CPR, but I had no idea what to do about his other injuries and a light bulb went off. I thought, I want to know how to help if this ever happens again!
I spent many years teaching, nannying, and working for a non-profit. It paid the bills and I liked it, but I didn’t feel passionate about it, and found myself looking for a change that I could grow in; something that I could make a career out of, and use my personal skills and interests in healthcare and helping others. So I took the leap and enrolled in an accelerated EMT program.
Do you have any advice for future EMT students?
READ AND STUDY! I was never a great student and didn’t really know how to study, so finding a study group (one member of which is also an OnTime employee), and reading my butt off made all the difference. Knowing I was so interested in this field also helped tremendously.
What made you decide to work for On Time versus another competitor?
After EMT school, I applied to quite a few companies. One of them seemed surprised that I had any interest in working there, which turned me off. Another offered more money, but no healthcare or other benefits.
Ultimately, I knew an old buddy of mine worked at OnTime and had been there for many years. I thought to myself, He has stayed for so long and has grown with the company, they seem excited about bringing new faces in, they are professional, AND I get great benefits!? There was no question where I was going to accept an offer.
How was the application process?
Easy as pie! Marlene was so welcoming and open. Everything was very professional and streamlined, which I really appreciated.
Can you explain the duties of an EMT Mentor? How did you grow into this role?
Being a mentor, and ultimately a Field Training Officer, you need to focus on communication and teaching with a respectful and educational outcome. Making sure that new hires feel comfortable and capable is key. Making employees feel seen and heard and respected every day keeps morale up and turnover low.
What are the duties of a Field Supervisor?
What aren't the duties of a field supervisor!? We have our hands in all the pots. Some days I’m on the road in a rig, right next to my fellow EMTs and AVOs. Some days I’m in the supervisor truck helping with lift assists. Some days I'm training. Other days I’m in the office making sure we’re all stocked up and doing paperwork to make On Time run smoothly. It’s one of the reasons I love this position, I get to do something different every day.
You originally started as an EMT and grew into a mentor, a training officer, and now a supervisor. How do you think you were able to advance in positions so steadily?
I pride myself on my ability to talk and communicate with anyone and everyone. I’m good at being an EMT, and I think it’s clear that I really enjoy it. Making sure I was doing what I was supposed to, going above and beyond when asked or needed, and communicating with my fellow employees and higher-ups helped me climb the ladder. If others can see your passion and work ethic, and you want it, you can go far.
I feel seen and supported here. I trust On Time and the people I work with. They invest in us as people, healthcare workers, and beyond.
What are some learning experiences you have gained in the field over the years?
I’ve learned to quickly and effectively communicate needs, issues, and how well people are working together and with our patients. Before I might not have spoken up so quickly or openly. I’ve also learned how to have more compassion and empathy in this position. It’s difficult seeing sick and dying patients every day, but it makes you recognize all the things that connect us and comfort us.
What advice would you give someone thinking about entering the EMS field but unsure where to start?
Jump in with both feet! You learn a lot in EMT school, but you learn even more working in the field. On Time is a great place to start, and I personally, am always open to giving advice and help to anyone interested.
How about advice for a brand new EMT?
Take a deep breath. You were taught what to do, and your partners, FTOs, Supervisors, and higher ups all have your back. You aren't in this alone by any means. Ask ALL the questions, don't be afraid to admit when you don't know something.
Any other EMS career insights you can share?
I do not wake up every morning dreading going to work. I love what I do and what this company provides. If you want to come to work and help partners and patients and feel accomplished after, this is the right place for you. You can work your way up the ladder by being present, asking questions and not being afraid to do new things. Not being squeamish or easily grossed out definitely helps too! EMS is a constant learning experience every day.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I have an open door policy. If you ever need anything, I'm just a text or phone call away. If I don't know the answer, I will find out or point you in the right direction. I am a resource to you, use me as such!