Getting to know Director of Education Nicole Dugan

Nicole Dugan, Director of Education

January 8, 2021 | Category: News

Education is imperative in this business. lt takes a small village to keep everyone up-to-date on new policies and procedures along with advancements in the industry. Nicole gives every last ounce of energy she has to take our associates and students under her wing to help them become the best providers around.
We did a little Q&A to get to know her better …

How long have you been working at Cetronia? I have been working at Cetronia for two years.

Before Cetronia, where did you go to school, and what did you study? I went to Harrisburg Area Community College where I received my Associates in Allied Health.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to do to a lot of different things growing up including being a cosmetologist, school teacher and librarian.

Can you walk me through your career path from entry level position to your current position? My parents started an ambulance service in early 1980s, when I was a young girl. I can remember going with them on non-emergency transports in the early days. Learning how to answer the home phone and what information to ask was part of my household.

I got certified as an EMT in 1996 and worked for the family business for many years. After it closed I worked for another private service for a few years, until it too closed. This is what drove me to the Harrisburg City Community Life Team. While I was there I went to Reading Hospital Paramedic Program and graduated in 2007. I also worked at Susquehanna EMS and South Central EMS for a short time. I was teaching at HACC (Harrisburg Area Community College) while also taking a critical care paramedic class there, when I connected with long-time friend Brad Miller who was a supervisor at Cetronia at the time. He invited me to do a ride a-long at Cetronia and I am pretty sure I signed on as a part-time employee that same day and soon after transitioned to full-time. I ultimately became the director of education a few months later.

What day-to-day responsibilities does your job entail? I track all of our employee’s credentials making sure they have the requirements to practice in the state. I manage the onboarding process of new hire employees in the paratransit division, EMTs and Paramedics. I am in constant contact with our field training officers throughout the new hire’s training process. I oversee the student ride a-long program for our students as well as students who come here from other organizations. I manage a team of instructors who teach various classes such as CPR, First-aid, EMT, PHTLS, TECC. I am also involved in community education, especially for our youth programs. I regularly recruit individuals who might be interested in a career in the medical field.

What project that you’ve worked on at Cetronia are you most proud of? The EMT Academy Program! This is an accelerated EMT course over a 10-week period. The student is an employee who is paid during this program. The students are taught Monday – Friday where they gain medical knowledge and lifesaving skills. They demonstrate the skills needed to be an EMT. Each student is paired with a mentor who then takes them out on the ambulance with them one shift per week. This is where they get to put their skills and knowledge to real work experiences.

What’s really fun about your job, and what’s really challenging? It is fun meeting new people and educating our future providers. It’s challenging finding new, up-to-date ways to engage those future medical providers. We live in a virtual world where people communicate most via electronic devices. Teaching people to talk to others and how to communicate effectively is sometimes difficult.

How has your job here allowed you to grow personally and professionally? I wouldn’t be in this position without all the mentors and professionals who have taught me in the past. Professionally I am honored to be in this position and to be able to share the knowledge that I have learned in my experiences from others.

What might surprise people about your job, or what’s one thing people don’t know about your position? Not only do I get to practice and teach with some of the best equipment around, I also get to use animal parts that replicate humans very closely.

What advice would you give to a young professional searching for a job like yours? Never doubt yourself. Continue to work hard and never let anyone tell you “you can’t”!