Friday, April 15, 2016

Rick Boaz: Meeting a community need

As we get ready for the 2016 Employee Recognition Banquet on April 21, we asked our colleagues about what drives their passion for health care. Here is one story of Passion and Purpose at CoxHealth:

Rick Boaz, Pre-Hospital

For Rick Boaz, a passion for health care is driven by a single force: the desire to make a difference in his community.

Rick had never given much thought to health care as a career until he moved to Walnut Grove, where he saw an immediate need. The distance from Springfield meant there could be a wait for an ambulance. Rick volunteered to serve with the local ambulance district, providing basic life support.
“I wanted to do my part in the community, so I started volunteering, not knowing anything,” he says. He became a first responder, then came to CoxHealth in 1997 as an EMT. By 2003, he had become a paramedic and started teaching a wide variety of classes.

“I love teaching with a passion,” Rick says. “We live the dream: We have the opportunity to take a person who is having a crisis and make things better for them.”

Beyond the medical knowledge, Rick says he has a basic message for his students: Treat every patient as you would your father, mother, sister or brother. He recalls picking up patients from Commercial Street and having those patients thank him simply for being nice.

“That tells me that at some time they were not treated very well. That is wrong. Every patient deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”

“I have a passion for helping others and making a difference in people’s lives,” he says. Rick lives in Bois D’Arc now, and he continues to volunteer with a community ambulance district there.

Rick recalls a time when he was out at dinner and a woman came up and told him he had saved her life. He didn’t recognize her at first, but he soon realized she had been a gunshot victim on a call he responded to.

“I told her, I did some things, but it’s not always in our hands who lives and dies. I did what I was trained to do. Still, when you see people later on and they say thank you – those are always occasions that make you feel really good.”