Episode 19: With Dave B (On Growing Up in Florida, Working as an EMT, Nursing, Vaccines and Fatherhood)

Meet Dave. He’s my neighbor and his little girl Kenzie is pals with Rebelle Harmony. Dave is a funny fellow who’s worked in various jobs in the medical field. These days, Dave works in nursing administration and online teaching. His work is mainly focused around health policies and regulations. He is the swiss-army knife of nursing administration. Dave grew up in the Florida panhandle in the 80s.

Opening: Tears For Fears “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”


Parenting With Grandparents Up the Street

Kenzie is two and a half. The grandparents (Dave’s in-laws) live eleven houses up the street. That’s been a big help for Dave and his wife Vanessa.

Jobs — Career in Medicine

Volunteer Fireman — age 20

Emergency Medical Technician — early 20s

Nursing: ED, ICU, surgery, outpatient surgery, pain management

Clinical Education

Travel nursing: a summer in the Caribbean (St. Thomas)

Dave landed in Northern California in 2006, working in Martinez, then Antioch (east of the Bay Area).

Today, his specialty is Nursing Informatics (data).

Growing Up in the Panhandle

Dave and his family lived in Panama City. It was undeveloped in the early 80s when he was growing up.

The county only had 50,000 people when they moved there. There wasn’t even a McDonald’s. They always had the beach. Everything revolved around the beach. Now its a tourist area.

There was nothing. Just miles of empty white sand and blue water. Dave’s dad was in the military. He was in the army, then in Miami with the Coast Guard then got a civilian job at an Air Force Base. He oversaw the building contractors — civil engineering.

How did Dave become a Nurse?

Dave had no idea what he wanted to do when he was a teenager.

How did nursing become your career?

Because I didn’t want to work on the ambulance anymore!

How did the ambulance happen?

Because I needed a job!

At the time I was doing air conditioning/construction work for one of my dad’s friends. One of my friend’s brother was a paramedic. He took us down to the community college and enrolled us in EMT school. One semester and then they let you loose on an ambulance.

Vaccine Distribution

(This conversation was recorded at the end of December)

It’s been almost a year since Dave was working in the hospital, but he’s heading back to give vaccine shots.

At the time, Dave’s hospital was beginning the process of giving the shots within hospital employees.


EMT Work — Ambulance

Training. First week at work in Panama City. Cessna single engine plane crash. Tunnel vision — focus only on what’s in front of you.

Your goal is simple: get them to the ER.

Dave’s friend was a paramedic and then went through the clinical background in school. You can’t be phased.

The employment options in the mid-90s in Bay County, Florida were not great. If he were to do it over again, he probably would’ve gone to nursing school first.

After about three years, Dave knew it wasn’t a career he could stay in for a long time.

I wanted to wear pajamas to work. You’re always jealous of the nurses, because they wear scrubs. I’m tired of working in the rain, the cold, in the heat. The box, that ambulance is ten feet long and six feet wide.


Middle of the Night with a Toddler

Jonah describes a brutal night of non-sleep with Rebelle Harmony. Dave hasn’t experienced the middle of the night chaos…yet. Kenzie is a year younger.



Dave answers some rapid-fire questions.

Cardio for dads during the pandemic:

Pulling two toddlers in a red wagon up a hill.

Dave loves 80s music. A-ha. Tears for Fears. Depeche Mode. Morrissey.

Dave remembers listening to music on boomboxes on the beach and listening to 80s music in the roller-skating rink.

Intensive Care Unit: How Do You NOT Take Home the Horrific Images?

Dave: You don’t forget too much, because you use all that experience for the next patient. You need to learn how to take care of them so you’re not surprised by the next person. Bull-shark amputation.

Work Life and Personal Life: Compartmentalizing

How do people who work in medicine keep those horrific images that are part of their work — how do they keep that from imposing on their home life?


Marriage With Baby Compared to Marriage Without Baby

Dave didn’t consider becoming a dad until he hit 30. Mothers over 35 are considered “geriatric” in the Labor and Delivery universe.



Dave has an older sister. They were roommates in their twenties for three years.


Jonah’s Baseball Trip with Brother in 1998. Stories of getting speeding tickets. Dave tells the story of driving to the hospital while Vanessa was heading into labor, having contractions.

Life During the Pandemic

The interventions for preventing viral spread have not changed in a hundred years:

*Don’t get close to people

*Make sure you have good ventilation.

To support the podcast, please click below www.buymeacoffee.com/jonahasks

Thanks for listening, sharing, rating and subscribing to the podcast. Be Safe.

This is Temporary!


Jonah Hall makes Jonah Asks, a podcast about being human. Conversation-interviews with friends and friends of friends about how to live on Earth in 2020.