Two leaders in EMS were recently honored by Tennessee’s South Central EMS Directors Association for their contributions on a local and national level.
John Fitzsimmons and Jeanne Yeatman were praised by their peers for their long dedication in patient care and innovative approaches to management.
Fitzsimmons, a native resident of Lincoln County, was one of the first 500 emergency medical technicians licensed in Tennessee in 1972. He then went on to become the 19th paramedic licensed in the state. Shortly after receiving his EMT license he went to work for Lincoln Medical Center and took over as director of that agency in 1979. He retired in 2005 (26 years and 73,000 transports later) from Lincoln Medical Center EMS but couldn’t quite bring himself to leave the field he was so passionate about. He took a position as the quality assurance manager with Trans Med Ambulance Service.
During the many years he was managing his local EMS agency, he was also a pioneer in helping to develop many of the state and national standards in use by EMS across the county. He has been an active member of Tennessee Ambulance Service Association since 1974 (it was formed in 1973) and currently serves as secretary on the National Association of EMTs (NAEMT) Foundation Trustee Board, a member on the NAEMT Affiliate Advisory Council and a member of the South Center EMS Director’s Association. He’s worked with the NAEMT board since 1979.
“We are exceedingly appreciative for his long dedication to the professionalism of EMS and for helping to make EMS what it is today,” said Roy Griggs, president of the South Center EMS Directors Association and director of Giles County (Tenn.) EMS.
“John has been a great leader and is nationally respected,” said LeeAnne Boeringer, State of Tennessee Department of Health EMS Consultant, South Central Region. “We have been fortunate to have such a forward thinker leader right here in our midst.”
Yeatman, administrative director of Emergency Services for Vanderbilt University Medical Center and current secretary of the SCEMS directors association, was also honored for her long-standing work with the association and her leadership in EMS.
In 2012 Yeatman was named the Tennessee Ambulance Service Association Administrator of the Year. That same year she was named by HealthLeaders magazine as one of its top 20 people across the nation who is “changing healthcare for the better.”
Yeatman has been with Vanderbilt since 1989; she began as a Care Partner in the Emergency Department and worked there while completing nursing school. She has served in various roles, including that as a staff/charge nurse prior to moving to LifeFlight in 1993 as a flight nurse. She has served as an assistant manager, program director, and administrative director of LifeFlight and during her tenure she oversaw a fivefold growth in the program. She was awarded the prestigious Program Director of the Year Award in 2005 by the Association of Air Medical Services. In 2012 she assumed oversight of Adult Emergency Services, LifeFlight and Resuscitation. She currently serves on the State of Tennessee EMS Board, appointed by Governor Bill Haslam in 2015. The board is empowered to approve schools and prescribe courses for EMS personnel, promulgate regulations governing licenses and permits, and establish standards for the activities and operation of emergency medical and ambulance services.
“Jeanne has been such a big supporter of the SCEMS Director’s Association,” Griggs said. “She is dedicated to making sure that EMS is delivered by the highest standards despite the unique environment that we work in.”