Faculty Spotlight: EMS professor champions compassion and hands-on learning

Friday, February 28, 2020
Written by: Emily Hollingshead

Favorite band: Casting Crowns
Favorite sports team: New York Yankees
Skill you want to learn: Speak Japanese

“I figured I was going to be a big rock star,” joked Professor of Emergency Medical Services Angel Nater. Before he came to Seminole State College of Florida, before he even was in the emergency field, he played in a band recording albums and playing at large events in New York City. When he decided he needed a different career path, he looked to join the NYPD. While going through the rigorous hiring process, he took a job as an ambulance driver. After six months on the job, the Teamsters union offered to put him through EMT training. “I thought ‘Ok good, so when I become a police officer I’ll know what to do in case of an emergency,’” Nater said. It wasn’t until he got married that he considered a different career, rescinded his application to the NYPD and accepted a job with New York City Emergency Medical Services.

“My father was a musician; my mother was a nurse. So, I guess I inherited my talents from them,” Nater said. “I found that doing EMS was also something I enjoyed. Being a paramedic and saving someone’s life is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.”

Angel Nater, professor and program manager of emergency medical services.

For his EMT and paramedic students, Nater looks to give them as much hands-on experience as he can through the use of simulation. “Simulation allows us to put the student in circumstances that they may not normally get when they go to the hospital or the fire department,” Nater said, as the students must take on a more observational role when in the field. Through incorporating more meaningful simulation in the curriculum, Nater ensures that Seminole State students get to develop leadership, team work and critical thinking skills using complex scenarios. A recent example of this was an interdisciplinary mass crisis exercise where public safety students worked together with students from the nursing, respiratory care and pharmacy technology programs to treat a variety of patients.

However, Nater stresses that the scenarios are just the first part of simulation. Setting objectives and providing an in-depth debrief are crucial to the process. Through advocacy inquiry, professors examine the students’ choices with them to explore the logic behind them. 

“Probably the hardest thing to teach is compassion and patience,” Nater said. “People are glad you are there, but they don’t want to see you.” Emergency personnel are called upon at all hours of the night to see to those who are stressed, hurt and sick. More than just the knowledge and skills required to be an EMT or paramedic, Nater wants his students to have the affective skills, such as professionalism, courtesy and compassion, that allow them to build a trust relationship with their patients. 

Building a trust relationship is something Nater has taken from the field into the classroom. “I learn and remember every student’s name,” Nater said. “I know what their goal or dream is, and it becomes my goal to help them succeed.” 

When he is not teaching future EMTs and paramedics, Nater returns to music, playing keyboard, drums and other percussion instruments. He has also served as a worship leader in his church for over 20 years.

Interested in becoming an EMT? Check out our upcoming courses! 

About Seminole State College

Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves nearly 30,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A comprehensive college, Seminole State has awarded more than 100,000 credentials, from bachelor's degrees to high school diplomas, and offers more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs designed for success. For more about the college, visit seminolestate.edu
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About the Center for Public Safety

Seminole State's Center for Public Safety is a statewide educational resource for all aspects of criminal justice, fire science and EMS. In addition to preparing future first responders, the Center for Public Safety provides advanced, specialized and in-service training for current law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics. The College also offers students an Associate in Science degree in all three disciplines. Visit seminolestate.edu/public-safety for more information.