Today, we’re talking with Tony Smith, a paramedic with King County Medic One, which provides paramedic services for south King County and Vashon/Maury Islands. King County Medic One is part of larger King County system made up of thousands of paramedics, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), doctors, nurses, dispatchers, analysts, researchers and other professional and support staff who make up one of the most respected emergency response systems on the planet.
How and why did you get started working in public health? I became interested in emergency medical response going back to when I started in the medical field. I was a certified nursing assistant working in a skilled nursing facility, and received encouragement to pursue a nursing degree.
I was moving toward that path, but then had a chance encounter with a Shepard Ambulance crew at a facility where I was working. I was assisting the crew with a patient and they complimented me on my patient care skills and suggested that I apply with them. So I did, and they hired me, first in their Cabulance program, then I received training to become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
Working as an EMT, I was in frequent contact with local paramedics, and seeing their work inspired me to become one as well.
What does your day-to-day work for Public Health look like? I believe that my coworkers at King County Medic One and I have one of the most unique Public Health jobs. My day starts out basic enough: I check in with the previous crew about their shift, find out if there were issues with our equipment, and then perform my/our own daily vehicle and equipment check.
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