Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer
When it comes to saving lives, we know the importance of the doctors, nurses and the medical staff that suddenly become heroes when they least expect it. Not to forget the paramedics that cover the emergencies while flying from one location to another. One paramedic that needs recognition for an outstanding job is Nathan Kent Schmidt, NRP Senior Account Executive at Air Methods which owns and operates Tulsa Life Flight and Mediflight of Oklahoma. Nathan works at the base office in Ada, Oklahoma.
Tulsa Life Flight provides essential and lifesaving air medical services. During missions, highly trained medical teams care for patients with lifesaving interventions to significantly improve patient outcomes. These interventions include providing advanced trauma care such as advanced airway intervention, cardiac/hemodynamic monitoring, ventilator management and vasoactive medication administration and titration, advanced surgical procedures.
Nathan has been a paramedic for twenty-five years and has worked for Air Methods for ten years. “We have a number of people that work here,” he said. “In Oklahoma, we have about fifty employees but nation wide, we employ over five thousand people.”
Growing up in Ada, Oklahoma, even at an early age, Nathan knew that he wanted to be a nurse or a paramedic and decided on the paramedic route. Nathan was in the first graduating paramedic class at Metro-Tech in Oklahoma City. (story continues below)
Asking Nathan what experience is needed to do his job, he replied, “For flight paramedic, we are required three years of experience at a busy 911 service. Special training is required that all paramedics obtain FP-C (Certified Flight Paramedic, along with the nurses that are trained as well.”
Did anyone influence you to become a paramedic? “My wife was working at the hospital in Ada and we became friends with the EMS director through a mutual friend. I was doing factory work at the time and one night after leaving work, I came upon a traffic accident in the middle of a rain storm. I was the first one on the scene and at the time, I had no medical training. The driver was pinned in the car and needed to be extricated by the fire department. In the back seat, was a three year old child in his car seat and didn’t appeared to be injured. Once the ambulance arrived, and the mother was in the car, the child would not let go of me. Since the child clung to me, the EMS director that was on call asked if I would ride in the ambulance and help with the child. That was the point that I decided that this was what I wanted to do; a career so I could help them. Two weeks later, I registered and started in a basic EMT program,” Nathan commented.
Nathan is a true leader. He has the qualities of a great paramedic. He is able to present an understanding and compassion composure for those in need of his help. Nathan is able to keep his train of thought during emergencies, has the ability to think outside the box and continues with compassion to help others.
What is your biggest reward as a paramedic? “That would be helping others,” Nathans said. The biggest challenge? “It would be the long hours. We never really know what the situation will be. Currently, I am working in a business development role but as a team, we work together to give more tomorrow to our patients. I really can’t imagine doing anything else. I know its a cliche but for me the saying, if you love your job you”ll never work a day in your life is true to life,” Nathan said. How has the Coronavirus changed your life? Nathan replied, “There were virtual visits for almost six months and we were not able to see family members. The extra precautions that we had to take in our field of work was adhering to the standard precautions of mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing. For our medical crews it has been a huge change with the extra PPE’s they wear and longer transport times due to limited bed availability.”
“On every flight we have a flight nurse and flight paramedic. It brings the best of both worlds together to make a great team.”
The nurses bring the experience of ER/ICU together with the pre-hospital experience of the paramedics. Asking Nathan to sum up his life in three words, he said, “Blessed exciting, fortunate.”
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