For Immediate Release: May 11, 2016
It's all in the family for six AtlantiCare employees – all of whom work, or have worked for AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center's (ARMC) Emergency Medical Services Department.
They include sisters Donna Haugen, EMT-B, medical communicator, of Marmora, NJ, and Sandra Monaghan, EMT-P, of Forked River, NJ. Haugen, who has been an emergency medical technician (EMT) for 33 years and a dispatcher for 31 years, has worked as a dispatcher for AtlantiCare since 2010 at its Medcom Communications Center. Monaghan has been in the field for 35 years, the last ten of which she has worked as a paramedic for AtlantiCare. She is a member of ARMC's Specialty Care Transport (SCT) Team.
The sisters say it was their late parents, Leo and Sadie Haugen, who volunteered for the Minotola Rescue Squad beginning more than 50 years ago, who instilled in them a desire to serve. Their father was a driver and a firefighter. Their mother served as an EMT.
Haugen's son Brandon Smith, EMT-B, of Ocean City, NJ, is also a medical communicator with ARMC EMS. He started working for AtlantiCare in 2015 at the Medcom Communications Center.
Monaghan's son Ryan Monaghan, EMT-P, of Egg Harbor Township, NJ, is a flight paramedic. Her daughter, Erin Monaghan, EMT-B, of Marlton, NJ, is an EMT. Her daughter-in-law, Dreu Monaghan, RN, EMT-B, a registered nurse at ARMC City Campus, began her medical career as an EMT. Dreu is Ryan's wife.
"I remember my mother taking EMT classes and my thinking, 'Maybe I will, too,'" says Sandra Monaghan. Four years after her mother completed classes, she followed, choosing an EMS career that has lasted more than 35 years. Like her parents, she also worked as an EMT for the Minotola Rescue Squad, where she started her career.
"I became an EMT in 2002 when I was 16," says Ryan Monaghan, whose father was also in the EMS field. "I always loved hearing stories my parents shared. I knew I wanted to help people too," says Ryan, who adds he takes seriously his responsibility to provide care for critically ill or injured patients. He joined AtlantiCare in July 2008 as a paramedic, and went on to work at MidAtlantic MedEvac as a flight paramedic in 2013. AtlantiCare acquired MedEvac effective January 1, 2016, so he is now a proud member of the AtlantiCare family again.
Erin Monaghan, started volunteering as a cadet for Lanoka Harbor EMS during her senior year in high school and got her EMT-B certification while in college as a criminal justice major. Two years after graduating college, she joined AtlantiCare as an EMT. At ARMC Squad 32-38, based in Egg Harbor Township, she is part of a team that primarily transports patients from or between ARMC campuses and provides backup basic life support (BLS) to the 911 coverage areas in Hammonton and the surrounding communities. She, too, was influenced by the stories her family shared over dinners.
"Growing up in and being a part of a family entrenched in EMS has made all the difference in my life," says Erin Monaghan. "I think it also keeps us closer. We see people in poor health and in what can be life-threatening circumstances. Confronting these issues daily compels us to appreciate the time we get to spend together as a family because we really understand how limited one's time can be.
"I joined my local EMS squad in my senior year of high school for as a scholarship opportunity, but I ended up loving EMS," explains Dreu Monaghan. "We often don't know the full picture of what we will encounter when responding to an EMS call, so we need to be prepared." She says the experiences of providing emergency care have helped her in her role as a nurse on ARMC City Campus's 6 Harmony floor, where she cares for neurology, cardiology and post-intensive care patients. "Getting to know people from different backgrounds as an EMT also made me more open-minded and appreciative. Being able to contribute to saving a life – then and now - is the most rewarding part of my job."
The family agrees that, while each day is different for them individually, the constants for all of them are the privilege of helping people and the opportunity to share their experiences with each other.
"Having family members there to be able to empathize and understand the stresses that come with this field is a major stress reliever," says Dreu Monaghan. "You never feel alone in your work."
"Helping people in their time of need," is what Haugen says she most enjoys about her career, adding, with the family connection, "It was just natural that I would be in EMS." What surprises her most about the EMS field, is, "People will just come up to you out of the blue and thank you for what you do."
"There's a unique spirit of giving, caring, and kinship that comes from being surrounded by family who save lives for a living," says Sandra Monaghan. "We're all in various levels of EMS, so we're constantly offering support and learning from each other about how we can improve."
"I'm incredibly proud to be part of a family that's devoted to helping others," added Ryan. "And dinner conversations are never boring."
Jennifer Tornetta, (O) 609-569-7010, (C) 609-335-3446, firstname.lastname@example.org
Betsy Woerner, (O) 609-748-7539, (C) 609-385-6361, email@example.com
AtlantiCare, a member of Geisinger Health System, is an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health. It includes AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, AtlantiCare Health Engagement, the AtlantiCare Foundation, and AtlantiCare Health Services. Its more than 5,400 employees and more than 700 physicians serve the community in nearly 70 locations. A 2009 Malcolm Baldrige Award winner, AtlantiCare was also included in Modern Healthcare's Best Places to Work in Healthcare in 2010. ARMC became the 105th hospital in the nation to attain status as a Magnet™ designated hospital in March of 2004 and was redesignated a Magnet™ hospital in 2008 and 2013.