By EMS1 Staff
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — A veteran flight paramedic reflected on her career as she reached a milestone of 500 flights.
Terri Staner, a flight paramedic for St. Luke’s Hospital’s LifeGuard Air Ambulance, reached the landmark that has only been achieved by three other staff members after 10 years on the job.
“I never thought I would get to the 500th flight,” she told the Gazette.
Staner, a former stay-at-home mom, became a paramedic in 2004 after getting EMS training “for fun.”
“I loved everything about EMS,” she said.
Staner started out volunteering for an ambulance service before joining the emergency room at St. Luke’s in 2007 and becoming part of the air ambulance crew in 2008.
The flight paramedic said emotional support is a large part of her job.
“This is the worst day of someone’s life and you’re going to need to be part of that and you’re going to need to support them,” Staner said. “You can have perfected every skill there is, but if you’re not able to support them emotionally, then you fail as a paramedic provider.”
Staner added that because of that, paramedics have to focus on the emotional temperature of the situation, as well as taking care of the patient.
“You don’t just have one patient. You always have the family or sometimes the staff that’s taking care of them,” she said. “You have to be the calm person in the room, because if I don’t look calm, then it makes them nervous.”
Staner said she loves the high intensity of working on a flight crew, adding that it was “always a goal.”
“That’s what I love about the job,” She said. “When the pager goes off, you never know what you’re going to get.”