Childhood experience inspires student to become paramedic
At the age of 7, Kristie Krueger was diagnosed with a cardiac condition. That condition resulted in several trips to the hospital via an ambulance in her childhood. The care she received from the emergency medical technicians and paramedics on those trips inspired her to become a paramedic.
“I’ve known I wanted to work on an ambulance since I was a kid. The care I received was inspiring, and I fell in love with the profession,” Krueger said. She is currently working toward her technical certificate in emergency medical technology-paramedic at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville.
Krueger moved to Independence County from Chicago, Ill. in 2007. She worked at White River Medical Center as a patient care technician and a telemetry technician monitoring heart monitors for cardiac patients before she decided to pursue her dream of being a paramedic.
“I started taking classes at UACCB in 2010, but life got in the way, and I had to take a step back. I came back to school in the summer of 2016,” Krueger said.
Krueger said the paramedic program is a fun but challenging experience with extensive hands-on training. Students complete 600 clinical hours, 400 hours of training on an ambulance and a total of 200 hours of training at the hospital in various areas including the emergency room, obstetrics and operating room along with training at Sherwood Urgent Care. Krueger also works full-time at Vital Link and part-time for Medic One in Jonesboro. She said the positive impact she is able to make in her patients’ lives helps her through the difficult parts of being a paramedic.
“This is not a job for everyone. You see things that are hard to take in … things that can make you sick to your stomach. But it’s worth it at the end of the day when you know you’ve been able to help someone through a scary time in their life or potentially saved their life,” Krueger said. “What may not seem like an emergency to you is an emergency to the person that called 911, so you have to be caring and compassionate to be successful in this profession.”
Krueger lives in Southside with her children, Natalynn, 6, and Nicholas, 12. She said her children help keep her motivated to reach her professional goals.
“My kids are very proud of what I do. They support me and encourage me. They get excited about what I do,” she said. “In five years, I hope to have my paramedic license, be successful in my profession and keep striving to be a great mom.”
Check out Kristie's video interview on Facebook.