New director takes the wheel at Springfield Ambulance Service
“I’m glad to be here. I feel very welcomed,” said Paula Thomas, the new director of Springfield Ambulance Service.
“I have always wanted to work the medical field since a child,” she said during an recent interview.
She grew up in New Ulm, graduated from New Ulm Public High School in 1991 and then worked in various manufacturing jobs, before finding her way into emergency medical services. In 2010, she enrolled in an EMT course, earned her certification in 2011, and was hired for a fulltime job with Allina Health in New Ulm. In 2013 she began a two-year paramedic course fulltime at South Central College, North Mankato, while working full time, and being a single mom. When she graduated from the course she was hired to work as a preceptor with Gold Cross Ambulance in Albert Lea. A preceptor serves the dual role as a practitioner and educator for trainees. Students worked alongside her and rode with her in the ambulance. She also volunteered with South Central EMS from the time she became a certified EMT until 2015.
When she learned that the ambulance director position was available in Springfield, she applied for the job. She is happy for the opportunity to move back home. She plans to sell her house in New Ulm and move to Springfield. “I believe when you work in a community you should become a part of the community,” she said
Paula started her job in Springfield on September 19. “My job is to work with the ambulance crew and the hospital and city staffs to make the ambulance service run smoothly,” she said.
Being an EMT or a paramedic is not a job for the faint of heart. It can be difficult at times, she noted, but it’s important to have the ability to stay calm in stressful situations, have good communication and interpersonal skills, and compassion.
There’s no denying that being a paramedic has a definite level of excitement to it — riding in the back of a screeching ambulance, or driving it. You never quite know what you’re going to find when you get where you’re going, but most likely it will be enough to get your adrenalin pumping. Those who find satisfaction in helping others typically appreciate the service aspect of becoming a paramedic.
Springfield is dealing with changes in the hospital, she acknowledged, but I’m happy to be a part of it and to provide the assistance needed to make the transition smooth. That is my big focus.”