Ashley Vargas joined Northwell Health and began her professional career in 2021 as an EMT at the Center for Emergency Medical Services in New Hyde Park, NY, and two years later in 2023 became a paramedic at the same location.
Today, as a community paramedic, Ashley works directly with physicians to treat patients who choose care at home instead of in the emergency department. By communicating ailments and any changes in the patient’s condition with physicians, Ashley can provide care at home.
This form of community paramedicine is offered to patients in Northwell’s House Calls program. Ashley reduces the strain placed on ambulances and emergency departments by addressing healthcare needs in the comfort of patients’ homes. For example, if there is an urgent change in a patient’s condition, such as COVID-19 or the flu, Ashley is able to treat the patient in their homes. However, there are times when patients may require diagnostic testing with advanced equipment, and we will communicate with the patient, their family, and a physician, on a decision on whether or not to be transported to the hospital.
“My position as a paramedic can be very rewarding. I find joy in delivering proactive healthcare. This role gives me the opportunity to build trust and enduring bonds with my patients, gaining deeper insights into their unique requirements. I can make a meaningful impact in our community,” said Ashley.
Ashley believes Northwell set her up for success from the beginning by offering a comprehensive training program, covering emergency scenarios and how to use the latest equipment. Ashley was first attracted to Northwell since the organization has the largest hospital-based ambulance service in the region. With Northwell’s reputation of excellence, patient-centered approach and collaborative culture, Ashley knew the health system was the ideal place for her to contribute to a team while pursuing her career goals.
Proud of the work she does for Northwell, Ashley is a passionate team member who is glad she became a paramedic and was able to join a company like Northwell that supports her personal career growth and goals. When she first transitioned from her role as EMT to her role as paramedic, Ashley’s team, especially her team leader was very supportive and made sure she was prepared for this change and had access to all the resources she could need.
As a paramedic, Ashley is required to have a current paramedic certification in New York State, plus specialized certifications as needed. Whereas she previously needed a current Emergency Medical Technician certificate in New York state to practice as an EMT. Northwell supported Ashley through this process, and she was able to successfully grow in her career and meet her career goals.
In addition, EMTs operate an ambulance and transport their patients to their destination, with the patient’s safety as their top priority. Whereas paramedics conduct medical evaluations and provide care to patients before they are transported to the hospital. They also maintain equipment and make sure patients are transported in a safe manner.
“I have always taken advantage of each opportunity to grow. My team leader has been helpful in navigating me toward the right direction in my career,” said Ashley.
Another way Ashley has developed in her career at Northwell is by participating in some of the monthly employee workshops. These workshops included the Employee and Family Assistance Program, which provides information on Northwell’s free counseling program. This led Ashley to join a stress management workshop and learn how to recognize and manage the stressors in her life.
When asked if she could offer any advice to those looking to start a career in emergency medical services, Ashley encourages anyone starting their career to prioritize their patients’ well-being along with their own health. She also stresses seeking opportunities for improvement and learning from past experiences.
Discover a career well cared for and learn more about paramedic and EMT opportunities at Northwell Health.