Career changes, for most of us, are never easy, especially if you’ve developed a comfort level within your EMS agency and like what you do.
But sometimes stepping away from something you love to accept new challenges can have its own rewards, as Lauri Beechler, MSN, RN, CEN, PHRN, product marketing manager for the EZ-IO Intraosseous Infusion System at Vidacare in San Antonio, TX, can attest.
Beechler began her career in nursing, first in the OR, then as a critical care nurse. She worked in various ICUs for six years before switching to the ED setting. She enjoyed what she did and felt challenged but still believed she needed to grow professionally. She entered a master’s program in education and, loving the prehospital setting, moved into EMS, where she worked with area fire departments teaching CE and working on CQI and QA.
After completing her master’s program in nursing and education, Beechler accepted a position running the paramedic program at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, IL. She continued pursuing new certifications, as well as working in EMS, the ED, ICU and CC transport. She also began editing EMS books for publishers and teaching for national organizations.
It was around this time that Beechler received a call “out of the blue” from Vidacare, a developer of a broad technology platform that is defining the field of intraosseous (inside the bone) medicine, for which she had previously done some independent teaching.
“I was offered a corporate RN education position,” Beechler says. “The benefits seemed to outweigh any risks, so I gave six weeks’ notice, sold my home, packed up my family, moved to San Antonio and started a complete career change in the business world.”
Eight months later, Beechler had worked her way into the product manager position for EZ-IO. Meanwhile, she took a part-time flight nurse position to maintain her EMS and nursing skills.
“My desire to work EMS and be more involved with that was conscious,” says Beechler. “But I never thought my career would be where it is today. I have always known I would fly, but never thought I’d be in a business setting utilizing my 22 years of experience to move forward.”
Beginning a new career on the corporate side of medicine has been humbling, uncomfortable and exciting, Beechler says. “I have embraced educating and challenging myself. There is so much room to grow in this career field. I am using every area of experience I’ve had and more.
“I’ve been in my profession for 22 years, so to step out of that comfort zone causes anxiety—I’m low man on the totem pole now, and I haven’t been there in a long time. But it’s good to be humbled!”
And her many years of experience in the prehospital setting help keep things in perspective, Beechler says. “Now, everyone thinks their urgency is life or death, but they have no idea what really matters. This helps me stay grounded and not freak out over deadlines, when emotions and pressures run high. My response is usually, ‘No one is dying here.’”
Beechler says she misses full-time EMS work terribly but embraces the new opportunity in front of her, which only makes her more marketable professionally.
“Change is never comfortable,” Beechler says. “I have proven myself in my profession and my work ethic has been respected. If you want to grow, you have to take chances. I feel like I have been a positive role model for my three sons that you can do anything you want if you just try and give it your all. You have to give everything at least a year before you make a choice whether to like it or make a change. It takes that long to adapt, so don’t sell yourself short by not trying or quitting too soon!”