The Burbank Fire department has many firefighters, but it also has
From her office at Station 15, Nurse Educator Susan Hayward
reviews service records, pours over response reports, updates
paramedics on new procedures and briefs the department on new
emergency medical policies. It’s a decade-long, 30-hour-a- week
partnership that officials say has provided added quality assurance
to the department’s paramedic services.
In the early 1990s, Burbank was among the first in the county to
usher in new field treatment procedures for paramedics. The protocols
increased paramedics’ ability to administer medical treatments in the
field. But as the number of policies and treatments increased, the
need for a nurse educator became that much more important, Hayward
“My job is to review all of the runs and policies that the
department makes and to ensure that good care is being provided to
the citizens of Burbank,” she said.
Not every department has a nurse educator, officials said. Some
smaller ones share them. And in some cities, such as Glendale, they
are a fairly new breed because the department’s paramedic program is
younger than Burbank’s.
Hayward works with firefighters and paramedics on more routine
calls, like frequent ones for shortness of breath and heart attacks,
as well as ones they don’t see every day.
“People tend to get rusty. I want to make sure they stay up on the
care,” she said.
That’s why Hayward holds refresher courses on procedures like one
in which a needle is inserted into the neck to open the airway.
Hayward also holds informational meetings, like one last week about
smallpox vaccinations. A refresher on pediatric aid is in the works.
“Susan’s job is important for the EMS program,” Capt. Tom Lenahan
said. “She’s doing this in a way in which she has cooperation from
paramedics, and able to deliver the message without chastising them
by saying ‘You did this wrong!’”