When it comes to saving lives, Tyler Gregory draws his inspiration from his mom.
When Tyler was around 12 years old, his grandfather suffered a heart attack. To help to care for him, Tyler’s mother obtained her CPR certification at the local fire department – and ending up staying on as an emergency medical technician. Tyler followed her footsteps, joining the Unadilla Fire Department at the age of 16 and ended up going on calls with his mom.
“She’s been my mentor and my biggest supporter,” he said.
He was initially hesitant to go to college, due to less-than-positive experiences in high school. In 2012, he took the leap and enrolled in the Emergency Medical Technology/Paramedic program at SUNY Broome – and was glad he did. When he decided to take a different path and become a nurse, he knew just where to go.
“The educators are amazing, the student body is amazing and the ability to talk to people for anything you need,” he said of his SUNY Broome experience. “I’ve always loved this school.”
Why the change? Paramedicine is a rewarding career, but it can also be physically demanding. “It takes a toll on the back,” Tyler reflected. He also appreciates the opportunity to provide compassionate care to patients in a different capacity: working in the emergency units where he once transported patients.
Tyler’s long-term dream is to become a nurse practitioner, and eventually work in the pediatric emergency room at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse.
He has already accepted an Emergency Room externship position at UHS Wilson Medical Center post-graduation. Nurses who work in emergency units need to have at least a year of experience, he explained. The externship program is designed to offer that additional training with a year-long orientation that covers multiple units before transitioning participants onto the floor as nurses.
As a paramedic, Tyler transported quite a few patients to Wilson through the years, and he appreciates the quality of the UHS system. SUNY Broome’s Nursing program is also top-notch, he said, and includes clinical rotations to familiarize students with the field.
“There’s always something new to explore in the Nursing program. The educators are exceptional,” he said.
Tyler also took advantage of international learning opportunities. In January 2018, he participated in the Health for Haiti global service learning course, where he lent a hand at medical clinics in the pharmacy operation, as well as other humanitarian and educational efforts. Program organizers Jennifer Musa and Maureen Hankin are his favorite professors, and he was deeply touched by the experience. In spite of poverty and adverse living conditions, the Haitian people are friendly and kind, he reflected.
“I would never had thought in a million years I would somehow end up in global education and health, providing care,” he said.
Tyler Gregory is one of the winners of this year’s Vanguard Award, administered by the New York State Nontraditional Employment & Training (NET) Program, for outstanding students in fields that are considered non-traditional for their gender. Sharing the award is Tiffany Simonik in the Manufacturing Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology programs. Kylie Gage in Communications & Media Arts had also been nominated.
Tyler was surprised, humbled and excited when he learned about his nomination from Dr. Susan Seibold-Simpson – or Dr. Sue, as students call her – the chair of the Nursing Program.
“I think it’s great that everything I do for the students and for my patients, that it does get noticed,” he said. “I saw that three students got the nomination; that’s really amazing! We have some awesome students down here.”