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Anne Edwards Named 2011 Paramedic of the Year

Aug 31, 2011

On August 30, at its General Membership Meeting in Las Vegas, NAEMT awarded its Paramedic of the Year Award to Anne Edwards, NREMT-P, of Indianapolis, Indiana.

Edwards, a paramedic with Indianapolis EMS, “will step up when others shy away,” says Michael Thralls, NR/CCEMT-P, PI, FP-C, CMO Operations Commander, Indianapolis EMS. He describes her as always giving 100 percent.

Edwards trains new employees as well as paramedic students in the Indiana University School of Medicine. “Anne provides them with the structure and guidance they need to build a great foundation for their future field practice. She spends time after her shift to work with students, helping them prepare for the next day, an exam, or difficult concepts,” Thralls says.

In fact, Edwards was nominated by Silvia Alba, FF/EMT-P, whom she precepted during the ambulance rotation portion of the class. “I knew only that she was on Medic 10, one of the busier ambulances in Indianapolis, seeing its fair share of trauma and serious medical calls. Little did I know that she would become more than a preceptor; over the course of the rotation she proved herself to be a role model for patient advocacy, a patient and fair teacher, level-headed in the midst of chaos and the voice of encouragement,” Alba says.

“Anne is always willing to explain concepts, do post-incident analysis of runs, share resources to aid learning, encourage when she sees the need and genuinely wants to help students become good medics, capable of thinking critically and clinically,” Alba says. “She gives feedback to her students in private and makes sure they understand and learn from each experience. She herself is quick to ask medical directors questions to increase her knowledge and share it with her students.” 

She notes that Edwards models her strong work ethic and conscientiousness when she unfailingly and thoroughly checks her ambulance at the beginning of each shift, anticipates a possible inability to get back to the station for more supplies in case of back-to-back calls, and immediately addresses any issues that may interfere with patient care. “Anne is not one to stand on the sidelines when she can do something to make things better.”

When the agency teamed up with the MESH Coalition to build a disaster team capable of deploying to the MAST-F, a 25-bed mobile tent hospital system, Thralls says that Edwards quickly stepped up to volunteer her services and has become a team leader instrumental in developing policy and deploying missions. Additionally, to help unify EMS services within the county, Edwards has provided her expertise in developing a new field training program, policies and procedures. “She has put in hundreds of hours with the focus of making the service better for our future patients,” says Thralls.

Thralls notes that Edwards takes her time on scenes to ensure the family, friends and patients understand their options, and facilitates the best choices for the patient. He says that on time-critical calls, she guides the patient care team to keep everyone on task in a timely manner.

Alba says Edwards is an inspiration and shares this story of how she goes above and beyond to advocate for her patients: “We had a run during which a female patient was confused about her medication. Anne called the company that sent the patient medication every month, getting the error corrected for both the patient and her husband when she realized he had the same issue. She saw the bigger picture – and by taking the time to make the call, she helped two people avoid becoming patients in the future. When the situation allows it, she helps her patients improve their long-term health.” Alba says that on a busy ambulance, Edwards sees her share of “regulars,” and although it is easy to treat these patients with less than professionalism, Edwards greets them by name and is familiar with their history and issues, addressing their conditions with the same regard, time and time again.

“I believe it is fair to say that there are few people who display true passion for their work, compassion for others, dedication to the mission of their organization, and are willing to do both the sweaty, back-breaking work and office work with the same degree of energy, all while maintaining a positive attitude,” says Alba. “Yet Anne does exactly that.”

The NAEMT Paramedic of the Year Award is sponsored by EMS World and is a part of the National EMS Awards program. Award recipients receive $1,000, registration to EMS World Expo, plus $1,000 for travel and lodging to attend EMS World Expo and the NAEMT Annual Meeting.