For Ciarrah Gannon, EMT at NDP EMS, a love for people and patient care is at the heart of her work. Having graduated from high school just one year before the onset of a global health crisis, her early adult years have no doubt been shaped by a deep sense of shared humanity. We had a chance to visit with Ciarrah - and with her infectious authenticity, she shared how meaningful her work is, along with some advice she has for aspiring EMTs. Read on to learn more:
Ciarrah, tell us about your upbringing.
A lifelong Dutchess County resident, I spent most of my childhood years in Wappingers Falls, New York, where I attended WCSD schools, including Roy C. Ketcham High School, before moving to Rhinebeck High School where I graduated in 2019. In addition to working for NDP EMS as an Emergency Medical Technician, I am now a student at Dutchess Community College, where I am enrolled in the nursing program.
What inspired you to pursue a career as an EMT?
Throughout my life, I’ve always gravitated to the sciences, but more importantly, have been intrigued by human services and patient care. Even as a kid, I knew that I would pursue something that would ultimately allow me to help people. The EMS field gives me a chance to take all of my areas of interest and pull them together to make a direct impact on the lives of others. It is very rewarding - we get to help our communities meet important needs (which has become especially critical given the lack of providers) - and for me, the connections I make with the patients are the best part of what I do every day.
Tell me about your training and preparation for the field.
I was in high school when I really started to understand the need for first responders. I had some friends who were in the field, and they urged me to consider this path. They knew I could utilize my skills and passions, and that this would be a natural fit for me. So I registered for the EMS program at Dutchess Community College. I was taught by a group of highly experienced, caring professionals who heightened my interest while helping me hone my skills. I so enjoyed the training, and decided to focus on the EMS route. It’s been incredible; we get to share compassion with people on every call, and I just love it. It is a great career path, and I’m glad I got started right away.
How did you land at NDP EMS?
A friend of mine, who’s also an EMS provider, referred me to NDP EMS after I got my license. As soon as I went in for the interview and met the people behind the company, I knew it was exactly where I wanted to be. Everyone was so friendly; NDP has a real family atmosphere and I just felt right at home, right away.
What do you most enjoy about working with this team?
Everyone is so warm and welcoming. And there’s always a willingness to help, guide, direct, support, and answer questions. As a fairly new first responder, this is all so important to making me feel confident and ready for anything. There is just an overwhelming feeling of total warmth at NDP EMS - it’s really special and unique.
Have there been any particular moments when you were on a call and realized the impact you make is truly extraordinary?
Yes, I think most of us feel it frequently. One patient in particular reminded me of our impact - this person was in great pain, and I really helped create a sense of calm and comfort. I realized that every time I communicated with this patient, it was helping. By the end of the call, the patient expressed utter gratitude for my compassion and I just felt so fulfilled knowing that I had made a difference.
When people refer to first responders as unsung heroes, how do you feel?
I do believe that EMS is definitely a career that is sometimes overlooked, but is a vital role in our communities. We connect people to the next level of care, and keep them as safe and healthy as possible along the way. I don’t think anyone is doing this for recognition; we just all love being in the wonderful position where we get to make a difference. It is an honor to be a first responder.
Can you tell me what your professional vision is for the future?
I intend to complete my nursing degree and hope to work in a hospital setting. I like to be on my feet, busy, directly caring for people, and challenged! My plan is to look for opportunities in pediatric care or labor and delivery in a hospital. My work as an EMT is definitely helping me prepare for that field!
What is your advice to a young person considering this path? If you have any interest in helping others, this is a career path where you can make a really meaningful impact! And the training helps you gain not only clinical skills, but also great communication and collaboration skills too. I highly recommend it!
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love spending time with my fiancé - we love baking, cooking new recipes, hiking, and staying active and outdoors. I also love simply walking my dog. There’s not much free time these days between nursing school and my work, but I love all of that too, so I feel lucky.
If you feel inspired to follow Ciarrah’s footsteps with a career at NDP EMS, visit ndpems.com/careers and apply today!