Wanda Bauer didn’t have the traditional path to starting her career in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) field. Bauer currently works with Mt. Calvary Ambulance, and her road to getting there is near and dear to her heart.
The 48-year-old worked as a cosmetologist for 20 years, but made a career change in 2012. The career change, Bauer explains, was a no-brainer.
“Switching careers became an easy choice for me in 2012 when my dad became very ill with cancer,” Bauer said. “I cared for him every day for five months until God took him home. That next year I entered EMT-Basic Class at Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC), so you could say that I entered EMS because of my dad.”
“I made sure he had someone there for him in the worst time of his life, and I wanted to do that for other people as well.”
After becoming an Emergency Medicine Technician (EMT), Bauer didn’t let her education and training stop there. Right now Bauer is the Service Director and EMT-Basic with Mt. Calvary Ambulance and is working to upgrade her license to Advanced EMT. The EMS provider is also helping train future EMT’s as she was just hired by FVTC as an Adjunct Instructor.
Pediatric patients stand out to Bauer, and she wanted to be well-prepared to care for them in any situation. Because of that, she chose to become a Pediatric Emergency Care Coordinator (PECC).
PECCs help advocate for children by ensuring that pediatric sized equipment is available, that everyone at an EMS agency is familiar with protocols for caring for pediatric patients, and by promoting agency involvement in injury prevention activities. Bauer is just one of over 120 PECCs in Wisconsin, and Children’s Health Alliance is working to identify a PECC at every EMS agency in the state.
“I love working with all age groups, but pediatric patients hold a special place in my heart,
Bauer said. “They are the future generation and are innocent and hold so much hope and faith.”
Besides caring for patients in emergency situations, Bauer helps educate her colleagues by sharing the information she learns from the pediatric trainings that she completes. In addition, she values the education see receives other health care providers such as nurses, physicians and respiratory therapists whom share their knowledge when caring for patients.
The extra training, high-pressure situations and long work days are worth it, without a doubt, for Bauer. Being able to safely transport a patient to the hospital is a feeling like no other.
“The most rewarding part of my job is the feeling I get when I bring a patient to the hospital knowing that I did everything in my power the help them,” Bauer said. “Parents are usually scared when we’re transporting their child, so we have to work with not only the patient, but their parents, too. That’s what’s so rewarding to me – helping the child, and being able to see how grateful and thankful their parents are for the work that we do.”