Traci Burns, Administrative Assistant

Administration – Santa Rosa, CA

Your business card says Administrative Assistant, but if you could make up your own title, what would it be?

Clinical Compliance Coordinator. It’s one of the roles I took on when the prior Coordinator left. Although my title has never changed, the job itself has grown and morphed. Responsibilities have been added and shifted along the way.

I was hired as an Administrative Assistant II to handle medical records. Then I officially took on the role of the Custodian of Records—things like depositions, affidavits and other legal documents. Then I inherited the Clinical Compliance Coordinator’s responsibilities.

How long have you been with REACH?

Since February of 2010 as an official REACH employee, but I was a temp here before that. One of the things I noticed and appreciated right away was how I was treated by the employees. I never got that feeling you sometimes get of, “Oh, you’re the temp, so we don’t have to get to know you.”

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

The same thing I want to be now when I grow up. My dream is to be a travel photographer. It’s just a hobby at this point. It’s kind of where I feel at home. I started as a teenager when I got one of those Kodak disc cameras that were so popular in the 80’s. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

Can you summarize the journey that eventually brought you to REACH?

Well, I got a BA in Psychology at Sacramento State, and when I graduated I moved back to Sonoma County. I was in auto insurance claims prior to REACH. It was the temp work that brought me here.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

It’s challenging to stay on top of everything and to keep it all straight, but I think I have a pretty good eye for detail. It’s hard not to feel like I’m failing when I can’t get it all done, though. I guess that’s actually my greatest challenge

REACH is growing—rapidly. That means more crew members, bases, agencies, certifications and flights, which means more charts, requests and subpoenas. Additional training increases the number of CEs to issue, narcotics to track, forms and reports to complete, etc. More staff means getting more phone calls and emails. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed sometimes. Logically I know there is no way to get it all done and have everything be perfect, but it’s hard not to feel like I should be able to.

What’s so great about REACH is that when the pressure is intense or things start feeling a little bleak, we pull together. It really is what we do. We come together and succeed as a team, in true “Above & Beyond” fashion. We find ways to make each other laugh and to break the tension. We listen. We offer suggestions. We “rescue” one another in lots of little ways. It might just be handling a FedEx package for someone so they can meet a deadline or making coffee for a meeting, but it all helps. Everyone does what needs to be done, and things somehow always work out. I know I’ll never be left alone to fail. I have an amazing team of coworkers, and they mean the world to me.

What do you love more than anything else about your current position?

What I was just talking about. My coworkers. They are one of the driving reasons to come to work. Every day, I come here knowing I have the full support of everyone in the office, and everyone out in the field.

What most inspires you about REACH as a company?

I love reading the survivor stories. I can be having a horrible day, and then I’ll take a second to look at our calendar and read a transport story. I’ll see what someone has gone through and how we played a role. It brings you back down to earth. And I love it that people I’m proud to associate with helped them get through that tough time. I’m a crew groupie.

Can you say more about our crews?

I just have so much admiration for them and for what they do. Maybe “groupie” sounds silly, but that’s not my intent. To me it means “a fan”, and that’s what I am. I’m a huge fan of our crews.

Before coming to REACH I didn’t give EMS personnel a lot of thought, probably because I didn’t know anyone in the field and I hadn’t ever really been in a situation where I needed them. Coming to REACH and getting to know so many of our crew members very quickly turned me into a fan. And it’s not just because of their heroism or that their job duties entail risk. I’ve never been around a group of people where every single one of them is truly dedicated to helping others. It’s incredible! They don’t do this just to pay the bills. They do it because they love it. I see everyone who comes in for Academy. I see their enthusiasm. It’s obvious that they’re excited about their jobs and that they’re excited to work for REACH. And the fact that I can call these people my friends makes me proud.

Are you willing to share a piece of personal information that people might find surprising?

Hmm… How about that I collect Mr. Potato Head dolls? I really do. They make me smile. My favorite is the Indian Jones Mr. Potato Head. He plays the Indiana Jones theme song when you press his hat. I also have the KISS collection, several Star Wars ones—Darth Tater, R2Potatoo, Spud Trooper, Mashter Yoda, a couple of transformers, The Wizard of Oz, and for Christmas I got the Homer Simpson edition they produced last year for the 25th anniversary of the TV show.

Who makes up your family or household?

I live alone but I have lots of family and friends close by.

Okay, I’m handing you the virtual mic. This is your free speech opportunity if you have anything else you’d like to share.

For the clinical department, two of our most recent projects were the new charting system, Image Trend, and our Clinical Services intranet site on SharePoint. Now that Image Trend is stabilizing, I’m getting excited to launch our SharePoint site soon.