We love our medical staff! To celebrate our flight nurses and medics and all the amazing work they do; we’re sitting them down for a question-and-answer session. For this week’s Medic Q&A, meet Carey Woods!
CSI Aviation: Why did you become a flight paramedic, and how is it different from working on the ground in a hospital?
Carey Woods: I became a flight medic because it was something I’ve wanted to do as a childhood dream. I knew I wanted to be in EMS as a child, so I took all the steps, made a list, and followed it.
I’m from Tennessee. In my hometown there were a lot of helicopter and air medical services. I saw them taking off and got to meet some of them [the medical staff] growing up—I decided I wanted to do it myself. I learned about scope of practice later in my career and learned that you get to do more [in the air]. It’s more fulfilling after being on the ground for so long…something different. Flying opens up more opportunities, including travel.
CSI: What have you gained from working at CSI?
CW: I’ve been at CSI for 2 years and 3 months. I came in from another flight service out in Gallup, New Mexico. Compared to that service, CSI was a smaller company in the growing process. I came in to the CSI able to share my knowledge, was not judged right off the back, and liked how the company was family-oriented. I’ve gotten to watch the company grow and am pleased so far.
CSI: What do you find most rewarding and most challenging in your role as a flight medic?
CW: The most rewarding part has been showing up to a patient’s bedside when they’re really critical. I love providing that same level of care when moving them from one hospital to another.
The challenging part is being remote [in the air] all the time. You don’t have all the same resources at your disposal. You have to play it by ear and think outside the box more compared to working EMS on the ground.
CSI: What’s your favorite medical flight story (or, just your favorite career story!)
CW: Overall, I’ve been doing this work for 20+ years. One story that has stood out lately in the past few months was an 18-year-old female psych patient. She felt like the world was coming to an end, family didn’t want her, and there was no purpose in the world. She was very frustrated and stressed out. I felt like I needed to talk to her. I told her she has a purpose, that people care for her, and opened up to her myself. I talked to her, let her vent, really had a conversation with her and made her feel like she had a purpose. She thanked me for it.
It’s not necessarily all about the medical part. Being a flight medic is also about allowing people to be heard in that moment when they really need it.
CSI: What do you wish people knew about your job?
CW: Now that I’m on the other end, versus dreaming about [being a flight medic] as a kid and trying to get to that level…putting on the flight suit doesn’t make us superheroes. We’re still down to earth and know what background we come from. There is still lots of learning and training we must continue to do. There are milestones and steppingstones along the way, and it doesn’t stop there.
CSI: Are there any fun facts you want to share?
CW: I love travelling. I have a musical background playing the flute in an orchestra and marching band, and I still play music instruments and own a flute to this day. I’ve also been overseas working as a contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan.