I have been Emergency Medical Service for about 16 years and a Paramedic for six and half years.
I am foremost a wife and mother. I have a 12-year-old son, a 4-year-old daughter and I am pregnant, and we are expecting a girl. I am very much a homebody, enjoy spending time at home with the family on my free time but I also love to socialize, so we like to have game nights with friends.
Never one person or one event that led me to Emergency Medical Services. Many people over the years encouraged me to be better and to strive for more, which is why I am where I am today. When I was growing up, my father volunteered for the fire department. My journey too began as a volunteer. The squad in my town sent me to EMT school. My first EMS job came in Atlantic County. I learned quickly I was comfortable in this group of people and that it was a challenge that I looked forward to tackling. Every day was different and some days were better than others, but I was always learning and developing my skills. When I started to feel a little stagnant and felt like I needed to reach for more, I was encouraged by the medics I had been working side by side with for years to attend medic school. At the time as a single mom, this task seemed impossible but I managed to develope my skill set.
Why are organize?
I became involved in organizing my co-workers into a union because I truly love where I work. The experience I have gained as a Paramedic here is tremendous. I’m happy to say I am as strong as I am because of the people I have been surrounded by through my career thus far. I want my co-workers to be recognized appropriately for their talent and hard work. Having a voice in the workplace through a union will allow us to have better relationship with management and the recognition and respect will flow from that.
What should the communities you serve know about your job and why you’re organizing?
I want the communities we serve to know that we are striving to be better so we can serve them better. I want to show up at your door and be 100% focused on you in that moment. I do not want to be concerned about my equipment functioning properly, or fearing repercussions of making the wrong decisions in treating my patients.
What do you hope to accomplish through organizing a union?
I hope that, with the union, we can establish an open line of communication with management; improve the overall work environment; remedy everyday safety concerns; that stress from fearing minor infractions being blown out of proportion can be ended. We’re all striving to be able to walk into work confident in knowing that if we do our jobs as is set in our contracts, we have nothing to be anxious about.
What does (or would) being respected on the job look or feel like to you?
Being respected on the job for me would mean that Virtua recognized that we are trained, licensed professionals. We deserve and should be spoken to and treated like professionals. We do not need to come into work afraid of safely and effectively treating a patient because the wind may blow the wrong direction, or that someone may take offense to something. We want our voices to be heard and legitimately recognized. Management could also show respect by not only supporting us but by consulting us regarding changes that could be beneficial to all.