Angelica Camacho-Malone started at On Time as an EMT in 2019. She quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a Field Training Officer in 2020, and a Resource Supervisor in 2021. We asked Angelica a few questions about her time over the past few years. Here's what she had to say.
How did you initially get started as an EMT?
The EMT certification process seems more complicated than it really is. I honestly Googled "EMT programs" and looked up feedback on them. The Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health (RWJBH) program seemed to have a great reputation, so I decided to enroll in their traditional class in the fall of 2019. This was all pre- COVID so they were still offering more in-person classes. After successfully completing the class in December, I immediately scheduled my NREMT certification. RWJBH did a great job in preparing me for my next steps. I passed the NREMT exam on the first try! Our final exam in class seemed much more difficult in comparison to the NREMT test. After passing the NREMT I received my NJ EMT Certification, as well as my NREMT certification in the mail within a week or two.
Could you share some advice for future students as far as EMT school?
The biggest thing is hold yourself accountable. Now that classes are mostly virtual, it's on you to sit through the lectures, take notes, and study. And it's not just about passing a test. People are literally trusting us with their lives. Put in the work that your patients deserve, and don't take shortcuts.
What are some of the most important things you learned in EMT school and in your fieldwork?
Other than how to save a life you mean?! :) In all seriousness though, I learned how important teamwork and clear communication can be. I learned to better anticipate the needs of others, both my partners, and my patients. I also learned how important it is to take care of yourself and your partner because you can't save anyone if you're not at your best. When you're in the class everything is rose colored and you're going to be a hero. Then you get to the field and the lenses come off. You see/experience everything in HD and you learn to just react because time is of the essence.
"You can't save anyone if you're not at your best."
What inspired you to get your EMT certification?
When I was younger, I wanted to be an EMT and I don't even remember what drew me to it. In college a coworker scared me away by telling me stories of gross things, like fecal matter and blood. After that I forgot about it and went into management. I never really fell in love with any of the industries I worked in, and I tried it all; food & beverage, the spa industry, retail, etc. Afterwards I ended up in the medical field. I was hired as an Assistant Site Manager for an urgent care company and later I was promoted to Site Manager. At that time, it just clicked. I enjoyed working in the medical field because it's hands-on and administrative. That job at the time allowed me to experience both. Although I loved working in the medical field, I didn't love that exact job role, so I decided then and there that I'd enroll in an EMT program.
Were you working while attending EMT school? If so, how were you able to balance both?
Yes. I went back to serving in a restaurant since I needed a flexible schedule for classes. It was hard. I chose the traditional EMT class schedule so there was more in-person learning. I worked every day that I didn't have EMT class and gave myself every other Saturday off. I look back and realize I could've made it easier on myself with a hybrid course because I became burnt out and tired.
One of the first things we learn in class is "Scene Safety" which pretty much means, "Is the scene safe? Is there anything that will bring harm to yourself, your partner or your patient?"
The coursework tells us, you are your first priority, then your partner, then it's the patient. So, I guess you could say that I learned to respect my own boundaries.
How did you hear about On Time and what made you want to apply?
Joe and Marlene visited my EMT class in Jersey City to introduce themselves and talk about On Time. I was hesitant about going into transport right out of school because of the stigma that EMS has on transport. But I'm happy that I chose On Time. Not only is it a great company to be a part of, but it's also a great environment to work on your basic skills such as vitals, patient interaction, charting, etc. Since there's more time as a transport EMT for practice, you're not in as much of a rush because your patients are relatively stable. Another perk: On Time offered a sign-on bonus!
How was the application process?
It was really fast. I had an interview scheduled with Marlene the day after I passed my test. I remember feeling so comfortable. Everyone was so welcoming. It really feels like a large family. That day Marlene scheduled me for my orientation and offered me the position.
How were you able to advance into new positions?
My first promotion was to Field Training Officer (FTO) in the fall 2020. I filled in as a partner for my Field Supervisor, Rahshon Wright, who was training a new hire. I helped explain some tasks to the new hire and Rahshon saw the potential in me. Not long after, Rahshon reached out to see if I'd like to become an FTO. I obviously said yes!
When the Field Supervisor position opened up, I was encouraged by Rahshon and Joe to apply. I honestly don't feel like I did anything in particular to make myself stand out. I come to work and do my job to the best of my ability. I try to help my coworkers when they need it, and I try to avoid conflict in the workplace. I appreciate the potential they saw in me and the encouragement to keep myself moving forward.
"I honestly don't feel like I did anything in particular to make myself stand out. I come to work and do my job to the best of my ability."
What are some of your daily duties in your current role?
I have my fingers in all the pies. I work with the Orientation Training Officer to ensure that all new hires are scheduled for training, and functioning as a point of contact for any questions/concerns they have throughout the onboarding process including afterwards. I work with scheduling on the EMT per diem schedules, training schedules, coverage, etc. I also work with Operations to help ensure that each employee has what they need to succeed, be it additional training, a new ID, schedule changes, shift pick up, etc. Lastly, I work hand in hand with RWJB and Union County Community College (UCCC) to set up ride-alongs for their EMT students.
Any advice for someone who is thinking of entering the healthcare field with no prior experience?
Go for it. The healthcare industry is a lot less scary once you're in it than it seems from the outside. I've met some of the most caring and wonderful people in this field. I'd also remind them to take care of themselves. It's easy to forget to take care of yourself when your job is literally to run around taking care of other people. Mental health should be a priority for healthcare workers because we need to de-stress and decompress in healthy ways.
Any career tips for new EMTs?
This is all in no particular order:
- Don't be scared.
- Practice, practice, practice.
- Ask for help, NEVER assume.
- Make your physical and mental health a priority.
- Enjoy what you do.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Angelica. We are thankful and proud to have you as part of the team.
Interested in becoming an EMT in New Jersey? Need EMT training? Learn more about On Time Ambulance's You in Motion career driven program here.