Everyday people: Miller switched careers after his daughter was hit by a carGreg Miller’s life changed the day his daughter was hit by a car. The Cannon Falls resident said instinct took over, and even though he had no prior medical experience, he was able to open 3-year-old Emelia’s airway and control her bleeding.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
Greg Miller’s life changed the day his daughter was hit by a car. The Cannon Falls resident said instinct took over, and even though he had no prior medical experience, he was able to open 3-year-old Emelia’s airway and control her bleeding.
It was then that Miller, who was a tool and die maker, decided to switch careers.
“My daughter was hurt; I could help her while we were waiting for the ambulance,” he said. “If I could do that, I could help someone else.”
Miller took courses and became a certified emergency medical technician in 1998. He immediately began volunteering for Cannon Falls Ambulance while keeping his job at Berquist Company. Still, he was kicking around the idea of getting a degree to become a full-time paramedic.
Then, in 2000, Miller’s wife, Lisa, re-enrolled in classes to earn her teaching degree.
She mentioned to her instructor that her husband was also thinking about going back to school, but hadn’t taken the leap.
“Her instructor told her, ‘He’s not getting any younger,’” Miller said.
That advice found its mark, and Miller enrolled in paramedic courses at Inver Hills Community College in the fall of 2001. However, his career aspirations took a slightly different course when he learned that paramedics usually don’t stay in their line of work for very long.
“The burnout rate for a paramedic is five years,” Miller said. “I decided I wanted to do nursing.”
Dedication pays off
By that December, Miller was able to take a part-time job working the night shift at the hospital in Cannon Falls even though he was taking a 17-credit course load. The time crunch left little time for sleep. To get through, Miller kept a sleeping bag in the back of his vehicle.
“On breaks, I’d warm up the car and sleep for one hour, two hours,” he said.
Miller’s dedication paid off. He graduated in 2005 and was hired part time by the hospital in Cannon Falls, where he would spend a year and a half. In 2006, Miller took his current position in Fairview Red Wing Medical Center’s emergency room.
Miller works eight- and 12-hour shifts, most of them overnights. And even with the long hours and sometimes stressful situations, Miller said he finds his job especially rewarding.
“I just like helping people out when they’re in an emergent situation,” he said. “The feeling of helping them calm down, relax, stabilize them.”
Miller’s only regret, he said, is not becoming a nurse sooner.
“I wish I would have done it years ago,” he said.
In his free time, Miller enjoys camping, fishing and fixing cars. He also spends as much time as possible with his wife and teenage children, Houston, Harlie and Emelia, who — unlike her father’s career — has no lasting effects from her accident 15 years ago.
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