The men and women of ProMedica Air and Mobile work tirelessly every day to save the lives of those who need them the most, but their commitment doesn’t stop with patients. Our paramedics, EMTs, RNs, and pilots are also active and retired service members of all branches of the military. In this video, they talk about what it means to be a medical professional and how their service prepared them for life-saving situations today.
Get to know the ProMedica Air and Mobile military personnel a little better with this exclusive ProMedica HealthConnect Q&A. Here’s what they had to say about their decision to join the military, their unique skills and some other fun facts.
What inspired you to join the military?
Michael Shaw, RN with ProMedica Air and Mobile; LTJG in Navy Reserve Nurse Corps: Joining the military was an easy choice for me. Both sides of my family have a long history in serving in the U.S. military dating back all the way to the Civil War. I felt that I needed to carry on the tradition of service to my country the way my family before me had done. The events that transpired on September 11, 2001, merely made my decision that much easier after I graduated nursing school.
James Siedenburg, helicopter pilot with ProMedica Air and Mobile in partnership with Metro Aviation Inc.; a former major in the Army National Guard: My family history is deep with military influences. My uncles were in the Army and Marines. I believe hearing their stories and growing up playing “Army” with my older brother had the most influence with my decision for joining the Army. The slogan for the Army that I remember was: Be all that you can be, in the Army!
What is your favorite duty or task that is part of your job at ProMedica Air and Mobile?
John Fifer, Jr., EMT driver with ProMedica Air and Mobile; former Sgt. In Army/Army Reserve: My favorite part is helping sick people get better. I really enjoy meeting new people, some who have become good friends.
Shaw: I love every aspect of my job. Being a flight/transport nurse is definitely something that few nurses get to experience in their careers. Being able to land on scene to take care of the most serious injuries, to transporting heart attack and stroke patients from all over Northern Ohio is very rewarding in itself. Not to mention being able to work with some of the most brilliant and skilled nurses and paramedics in the region as well. My overall favorite thing to do as part of my job is the flying aspect. Not too many nurses can call a helicopter their office.
How do you work as a team to help patients?
Don Kelbley, paramedic with ProMedica Air and Mobile; PFC in the Army: It takes all the employees of your team to make patient care happen. The more team members who can interact with the patient, the easier it is to obtain information in their scope of practice to make a patient care plan. I truly enjoy this aspect, providing patient care.
Siedenburg: I am a Mid-Western farm boy who was brought up to always lend a hand when someone is needs it. I try to always take the load off the crew, especially when we have the care of the patient in our hands. So I try to take the menial tasks that the crew will let me help with, off their plate so they can focus on the number one priority of patient care and safety.
Share one fact about yourself or your job that might surprise others.
Kelbley: We are healthcare providers, we are not just “ambulance drivers.” Driving is one aspect of our job, but the real work is done in the back of the ambulance being driven to a more definitive care facility. I think of myself as the “glue” that holds things together, to assess, treat my patient to keep them stabilized until they are delivered to a more definitive care facility to treat their condition.
Siedenburg: I know how to sew and crochet! When I was 8, Hawaiian shirts and shorts were popular, and I made my own shirt and shorts. Awesome, right?
Fifer: For nearly 19 years, I have been wearing a gold chain in memory of a dear patient whom only wanted to be transported by my partner and myself. She felt comfortable with us and wouldn’t be transported by anybody else. I transported her several times over a few years and became close with her and her family, including her daughter and granddaughter. When she passed away, we purchased matching gold necklaces in her honor. I run into the family now and again and they still ask me if I’m wearing it.