Written By: Dina HardawayAda County Paramedics

For Ada County Paramedics

I am honored to be employed by Ada County Paramedics. I have had the privilege to call it my “home away from home” for the past 5 years. I am both a paramedic and a mother to five children. The responsibility of both positions can be very similar at times in a unique way.

There are many titles that I have been called including but not limited to, “Medical person,” “EMT” and “a person who works in the hospital.” There is also the famous title all EMTs and Paramedics absolutely love– “Ambulance driver.” But the most precious name, the most privileged title that I am called is “Mom.”

I have had the privilege of working in the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) for 18 years. Of those 18, 12 years have been paired with being a parent. It is near impossible to put into words the experiences that I  have witnessed throughout the years. I have participated in unbelievable events, laughed many times, experienced anger at times, and although hate to admit it, I have shed a few tears. Working for Ada County Paramedics has taught me many lessons that I try to apply to all areas of my life. I have talked with fellow co-workers who are also parents, and asked them if being a parent has changed the way they handle the stresses that come with this kind of job.

Most anyone in this field will admit, it takes a certain amount of “emotional finesse” to be successful in performing the tasks at hand during the most tragic, catastrophic, horrific calls we’re dispatched to. It takes that same amount of “emotional finesse” to be the last person someone may see, hear, or feel as they take their last breath. There is the prominent question that stands out when someone discovers I’m a paramedic.  I’m asked, “How can you be a mom and work in the field that you do with all of the things you see, hear, and experience.” Speaking for myself, and witnessing fellow co-workers, I would say, it is the love of the EMS career, the passion for helping people in their most vulnerable moments, and having compassion, empathy, and an ability to function clearly in the most chaotic moments. Very similar to being a parent!

A common ritual most EMS professionals share, is at the end of a “bad call,” or the end of a “bad shift,” when we find comfort in hugging and appreciating our children, loved ones and those close to us. I believe that there are very few jobs that can be as completely fulfilling, rewarding, and satisfying as a career in EMS. With that being said, I think I could sum it up into several suggestions that would be sufficient to apply to all areas of life:

1. Cherish and appreciate those in your life who are dear to you. You never know when it may be the last time you may see them.

2. Maintain a positive attitude in all situations, you may unknowingly be the only sense of hope or security in someone’s life.

3. Smile. The simple gesture of a smile can completely change the atmosphere around you.

And most importantly…

4. Understand that it takes a special breed of people to uphold a position in this line of work, we are not in it for recognition, awards, gratitude, salary, or appreciation. We work unbelievable shifts, in all conditions, and see things most people would not believe. Being a paramedic is a lot like parenting. Because one thing that holds true– if you ask any of us, “We are in it for life!”

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