Meet AMT: Nathaniel H.

We interview our staff members for details on their EMS journey.

When/why did you first become interested in becoming an EMT/working in EMS?

During the summer of 2014 between my junior and senior year of high school, I attended a national pre-medical camp at Johns Hopkins University for students interested in a future career in the medical field. One of the afternoons was spent with undergrad EMTs who were both college students at The George Washington University in Washington, DC but also volunteered with the university’s collegiate EMS agency, EMeRG (Emergency Medical Response Group) or GW EMS.

After spending an afternoon with the EMS crews touring their ambulance as well as enthusiastically learning about all their equipment and lifesaving maneuvers, I was instantly hooked and knew this was an opportunity I wanted to pursue.

I had no idea I could simultaneously work towards my bachelors degree while also working/volunteering as an EMT on the side, helping to provide 24/7 911 EMS coverage to GWU’s campuses, surrounding DC neighborhoods, and The National Mall. As soon as I graduated high school, I immediately signed up to obtain my EMT certification through Allied Medical Training, in which I wanted to make sure that after a summer of studying, I was a certified EMT prior to starting undergrad that fall.

Tell us about your experience in the EMS field. What jobs have you had?

As a result of the GW EMS Johns Hopkins visit and tour, I decided to apply and later on attend The George Washington University for my undergrad degree. As soon as I could, I applied and was accepted to work with GW EMS.

Over the years of my undergrad as well as a few post-undergrad years, I worked my way up through the ranks of the agency starting from Probationary Member, to Attendant, Emergency Driver, Crew Chief/FTO, and then to become one of two student EMS Field Supervisors, FTOs (Field Training Officer), and Driver Preceptors.

As a Field Supervisor, my primary responsibilities were to oversee and provide both clinical and operational command/support to the ambulance crews while simultaneously serving as an independent emergency response vehicle, in the event of a secondary or tertiary call while the primary ambulance was already on a different emergency scene.

In addition to EMS field leadership, I also served as the Supervisor for Operations (2017) and the Supervisor for Training (2019) during my time as an undergrad student with the agency. While most of the 6000+ volunteer hours I accumulated while working on either the ambulance or emergency response vehicle, the others were acquired by working various event medical standby shifts (usually deploying as an EMS Bike Team) throughout DC.

The highlights include both the 2016 and 2021 Presidential Inaugurations (working closely with US Secret Service, US Park Police, MPD, and various other law enforcement agencies in DC), the Women’s March, Cherry Blossom Festival, as well as various other running events throughout the District.

In addition to GW EMS, I also worked as an Emergency Department Technician at the George Washington University Hospital (GWUH) for about 10 months during the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic. While this certainly was a scary time for many, I felt the obligation and urge to continue serving on the frontlines, even during a pandemic, as this was the job I had signed up for.

Here, I was able to learn and engage with a different side of EMS, that being hospital-based rather than the pre-hospital experiences I had come to love over the years. While working as an ED Tech, I was trained in-house to start IVs (including Ultrasound IVs), perform EKGs, assist physicians with various splinting techniques, and all around play a major bedside role in all Trauma alerts, Strokes / Brain Attacks, and Cath Lab activations.

Furthermore, I’ve worked in EMS Education and as a Lead EMT Instructor for many years now as well. I worked as an EMT instructor with the GW Medical Faculty Associates, Department of Emergency Medicine for the summer in 2020 and then also have worked as a Lead Skills Trainer with Allied Medical Training since January of 2018.

Teaching EMS has really helped me make sure I really know my own EMS skills and knowledge well but has also helped me become a better student myself.

Since moving back home to Minnesota from Washington, DC, I currently serve as an EMT with Hennepin EMS in the Special Operations Division. We provide EMS coverage for hundreds of events throughout the year, including NFL Vikings games at US Bank Stadium, Timberwolves/Lynx basketball games at Target Center, Pride events throughout June, as well as various other concerts and running events throughout the year.

What is the most rewarding part about working in EMS?

While the flashing lights and emergency sirens are exciting, the most rewarding part of working in EMS is the ability to directly intervene in a patient’s medical emergency by providing high-quality care to work towards a hopeful positive outcome.

With every patient encounter, I strive to provide hope and comfort to people in their darkest moments. Having worked as an EMT for nearly 8 years now, this philosophy is something I continue to hold close as I advance my way towards Medical School and is something I will always keep with me as a hopeful future EM and EMS Physician.

What is your favorite part about working for Allied Medical Training?

Having worked at Allied Medical Training for over 5 years now, my favorite part is the strong leadership, collaboration, and teamwork culture promoted within. Similar to working “in the field” as an EMT, teamwork and partnerships are incredibly important for success.

It is an honor and privilege to work alongside an elite group of very experienced fellow EMT instructors and skills trainers, all of which have previous backgrounds in EMS, Fire, Law Enforcement, Nursing, and many others.

If you could give advice to someone looking to become an EMT, what would you tell them?

I would highly recommend anyone interested in any sort of career in the medical field to become an EMT, as there is almost no better way to figure out if you truly enjoy patient care or not than to work as an EMS provider.

By learning from personal experience, becoming an EMT has entirely shaped my trajectory towards Medical School as well as learning to stay calm in the chaos and knowing what to do in a medical emergency.

Even if you don’t make EMS a career, you never know when the basic and advanced medical skills you learn will come in handy. The ability to give back to others and provide service to the community can also inspire others to do the same and pay it forward.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

If I could have a superpower, it would be to have the ability to shrink myself down to the size of a LEGO minifigure and live the life of one for the day. As a LEGO collector, I am currently ranked in the 5000s worldwide for my LEGO collection of nearly 900 sets and it has always been my curiosity as to how my minifigures live their LEGO lives on a daily basis in my LEGO city collections.

Thanks, Nathaniel!

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