Virtua Profile: Louis Imperatrice - Health Professionals & Allied Employees

Virtua Profile: Louis Imperatrice

I have been a paramedic for the 12 years, including the last six years at Virtua Health. I grew up on the beach and I continue to call the Jersey Shore my home. I am married to my wife Tiffany. a teacher in Egg Harbor Township, and we have one daughter, Kenley, and two dogs. When not working or spending time with my family, I enjoy powerlifting and exercising and I am a nationally ranked powerlifter.

I have always had an affinity for helping people. Prior to being involved in Emergency Medical Services, I served as a local volunteer firefighter.

Why organize?

I am organizing because EMS is not just a “job;” it is a profession and a career. Having a strong organization of co-workers, united to gain the respect and recognition both locally within our organization and regionally and nationally, will be a pillar to the future success of EMS as a respected clinical aspect of healthcare. I also am organizing because, for far too long, the paramedics, EMTs, and dispatchers within Virtua Health have been treated poorly in many aspects, with little to no say in our working conditions. Having a strong, united voice to fight for the change is the only way to make real and legitimate progress.

Why should Burlington and Camden counties care about you organizing?

I want people to know that Virtua paramedics and EMTs are organizing to ensure they have the resources and tools to effectively provide the highest level of pre-hospital care to the residents of Camden and Burlington Counties. Virtua EMS clinicians truly care about each member of the community but we do not have the support of senior leadership to ensure this care is delivered effectively. Organizing will allow the actual men and women who show up at your door to provide care for you and your family and to have a say in that care.

What would you accomplish by organizing?

Through organizing, we could open an actual avenue for staff to have a say in their working conditions and in the decisions that affect the daily work of the men and women “on the street,” responding to calls. We are highly overworked, in trucks with more than 300,000 miles on them, and have failing equipment that are not replaced because of “budget concerns.” Management constantly deny us time off from work, which is much needed in this stressful job. For far too long, the EMS clinicians have no actual say in any decision that effect our daily work environment and responsibilities. The time for change is now. We must have a real seat at the table.

What would being respected on the job look like?

Being respected on the job would mean being paid appropriately for the work and clinical care we provide. Paramedics perform a high level of clinical care, at times above and beyond the scope of practice of nurses yet are paid nearly 40% less than our nursing counterparts. Being respected would mean having the necessary equipment that we have been asking for years in order to effectively perform our job. Respect would mean being able to have PTO time approved to spend time with our families.