handbelly160Television dramas love hospitals and healthcare, but it has created a whole lot of inacurate perceptions about working in healthcare.  In the following pages, we talk to a number of real people telling their stories about working in healthcare. 

Robert Ivey

Career Spotlight - Commander Robert Ivey

Current occupation: 

Commander and EMS Supervisor, Lumberton Rescue and EMS


Advanced EMT, Level II Instructor, AHA CPR Instructor, Graduate UNC Charlotte EMS Management Institute

Pursued career because: 

I wanted to be able to help people in distress

Typical work day: 

Administrative duties which include reviewing reports, personnel issues and budget oversight. Act as first responder to serious EMS calls, and operate the crash truck for motor vehicle collisions

Difficulties of job: 

Witnessing the unfortunate loss of life due to a person’s bad decision

Why do you love your job:

The pride of knowing you have done everything you can do, and have a successful outcome


Take advantage of every opportunity. Seek additional learning. Help your community by volunteering so we can better the world we live in.

Fun question - Coke or Pepsi:

Coke, of course.



 Career Spotlight - Robyn DavisEMS Flight Crew


Current occupation or job title?

Registered Nurse with Airlink/Vitalink, New Hanover Regional Medical Center

 What credentials/certifications have you earned?

Registered Nurse
EMT-B (Emergency Medical Technician Basic, North Carolina)
CCRN (Critical Care Registered Nurse)
CMTE (Certified Medical Transport Executive)
Certifications maintained: ALS, BLS, PALS, TNCC, NRP

Why did you choose your profession?

I have always dreamed of being a flight nurse.  I enjoy the fast pace and the way the industry grows each day.  Every day I learn something new, such as a disease process or new technology.  I enjoy the time I get to spend with each patient and their families.   There is much responsibility that comes with the job but the reward of making a connection with your patient and making them better is wonderful.   There is also an excellent bond among nurses, both for educational and emotional support.  

Describe a typical work day:

Our schedule rotates on a weekly basis with one 12-hour ground ambulance shift and one 24-hour flight shift.  We start each shift preparing for the day by signing off medications, verifying expiration dates, ensuring equipment is functioning properly, and completing safety checks on the vehicle and aircraft. We have crew briefings and discuss any special events (PR, L Z classes, etc.) or weather hazards. On our ground ambulance, our calls are typically inter-facility.  Based on call volume, if the local EMS system has stressed resources we may also assist in local EMS rotation.

On our aircraft, our calls are varied between inter-facility and scene flights.  We may use our down time between calls for continuing education, charting, station duties, and crew rest but maintain the expectation that we are always mission-ready and may be dispatched at any time. 

 What is the most difficult part of your job?

Oftentimes we witness severe or even grave injuries.  We encounter many of our patients on what is one of their worst days.  Our duty is to do our best for our patients but at the same time it may be a scary experience.  We often transport patients to facilities and in the process they are separated from their loved ones.  We recognize how difficult this is for the patient and family and always make an effort to obtain contact information.  We follow up with the patient's families when we arrive at the receiving facility and update them on the patient's course and safe arrival.  

Share the reason(s) you love your job:

I love the variety of it.  No day is like the other.  I enjoy being out of the hospital, working on mobile units.  I have traveled as far as Virginia and South Carolina in a day’s work.  My co-workers are some of the very best, we are a very close group and always there to support one another.  I love taking care of patients, I feel like I truly make a difference, even if it's just to answer a patient's questions or hold their hand.  Each patient and transport is unique.  

What advice would you give students considering a career in your field?

Get experience as early as possible.  I started my career as a Nursing Assistant while attending nursing school.  It's a great way to see multiple areas and help you decide which aspect of nursing you like the best.  Volunteer with local Fire and EMS agencies.  We do outreach PR events and LZ classes with Fire and EMS. Our crews will always be happy to answer your questions and provide guidance as needed.  We may also be able to offer information on how to participate in a ride along.  Never give up!  Many critical care ground and air transport services require a few years of Emergency and/or Critical Care experience.  You may also need a flight or critical care certification prior to applying.  Each day in these areas will provide you with the knowledge, confidence, and experience needed to achieve your goals.

Fun Question: 

Truth or Dare?  Truth


 Career Spotlight - Patricia GilmorePatricia Gilmore


What is your current occupation or job title?

Coding Supervisor at Southeastern Health, Lumberton NC

What credentials/certifications have you earned?


Why did you choose your profession

I always loved the health care field. One of my summer jobs while I was home from college was working at SRMC in the Medical Record Department, and that is when I discovered coding. I enjoyed the complexity of coding and the knowledge you need to be an efficient coder.

Describe a typical work day:

Administrative  duties; which includes work assignments, running reports, chart reviews,  physicians education, training coders, charts audit; and, communicating and collaborating with other department in the organization.

What is the most difficult part of your job?

Keeping up with Medicare and Medicaid changes on coding guidelines and regulations.

Share the reason(s) you love your job:

I have been coding for 30 plus years. It has definitely have been a rewarding career choice for me.  I enjoy the challenge of translating medical information into accurate and complete coded data, and that coded data will help Southeastern Health with their health grades and gaining maximum reimbursement for the resources used to treat patients. 

What advice would you give students considering a career in your field?

Enroll in a HIT program (Health information Technology) or build on your current knowledge and experience and learn the coding systems required for the job you want. Credentials are important in the coding profession.

Fun Question: 

Phone Call or Text?—Phone call

Career spotlight - Marcus WillifordMarcus Williford


What is your current occupation or job title?

Respiratory Care Practitioner

What credentials/certifications have you earned?

Certified Respiratory Therapist, Registered Respiratory Therapist, Neonatal/ Pediatric Specialist, Bachelors of Science in Respiratory Therapy

Why did you choose your profession?

After being laid off twice I wanted the job security of the medical field and wasn't sure I wanted to be a nurse. A good friend had just graduated and started in the profession and had a good job he loved.

Describe a typical work day:

I start work at 7 and get a report from the night shift therapist about the patients. Then I go and see all of my patients in first rounds and give breathing treatments to everyone who has scheduled treatments for the day. Then I answer calls from surgical pre-op for EKG's. I also take calls from the Emergency Room for patients having trouble breathing who may need breathing treatments or who may need arterial blood tested to check oxygenation and ventilation. I also help patients who may need a breathing tube and life support.

What is the most difficult part of your job?

Watching patients die knowing we did everything we could and it wasn't enough.

Share the reason(s) you love your job:

We are an essential part of every Rapid Response and every Code Blue. We are important in saving lives in almost every hospital in the world. I also love working only three days a week.

How has your military experience impacted your job performance?

Mostly it has made me to be able to wake up really early, given me the discipline to come to work when scheduled and not to just call out and leave my co-workers in a bind; and, the GI Bill paid for my education.

What advice would you give students considering a career in your field?

Know that you may have to move away from the area to work as the job market isn't like it has been in the past. There aren't an abundance of jobs in this area anymore because there are 3 schools in the area with the Associate's Degree in Respiratory Therapy. Also, be willing to continue your education, as the NC Respiratory Care Board is pushing to make the Bachelors of Science in Respiratory Therapy degree the entry-level standard.

Causes you love and support:

I am a Rescue Coordinator for Paws in Park Fetch your friends and meet us at the Battleship Park along the beautiful Cape Fear River in Wilmington, NC for a tail wagging good time!  Also, I'm a Fundraising Coordinator for  Carolina Boxer Rescue.

Fun Question:   Tea or Coffee




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