HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As soon as Shara Molina gets into the station, it’s straight to work. She is the supervisor of “Charlie 1”— one of the busiest EMS units on Oahu.
“Nonstop. I cannot tell you the last shift where we got to turn off our ambulance,” Molina said.
In her 15 years with the Honolulu Emergency Medical Services, she’s worked her way up the career ladder ― from emergency medical technician to paramedic to supervisor and, most recently, to acting field operations supervisor.
"I take care of our unit, any supplies or anything like that that's my job to take care of but I still run as a medic every shift I run."
When she fills in as acting field operations supervisor, she oversees a third of the EMS fleet.
“There’s somebody who called us for a reason and it’s my time to shine, and we’re their hero basically," she said. "They’re calling 911 because they need us and no matter what the road block is my job is to go around it and find out a way to take care of my patient and make sure their outcome is favorable.”
During her 12-hour shift, she’ll respond to an average of a dozen 911 calls. No two are alike.
Molina has restarted a patient’s heart, delivered a baby in a moving ambulance swerving through traffic, administered medications for stroke, seizure and trauma patients ― all while being compassionate to each and everyone of her patients.
“We had a cardiac arrest at 24 Hour Fitness and when we got there we started our CPR, we got return of her heartbeat and breathing and by the time we got from that location to Pali Momi, she was already trying to open her eyes," Molina said.
"I got to meet her a few months later and she said all she could remember was my voice talking to her telling her, ‘Auntie, I’m here to help, and she thanked me.’ That was one of the few thank you’s I got in this job and that means a lot to us. That sticks with us and that’s why we continue doing what we do.”
While responding to emergency situations, she makes sure to maintain her composure, something she credits to her eight years in the Army.
“When we go on calls, we try to focus on what needs to be done at the time. After our patient is taken care of and delivered, then the mom will come out, you know the ‘oh my God, did we just do that?’ kind of thing will come out. I think in this career most of us are able to do that. Focus on what needs to be done first.”
The Pearl City High School graduate hopes to do this job as long as she can to help inspire and pave the way for future female paramedics.
“Doors are open. We’re just as good as any male counterpart and if they work hard and have a good support system and believe in their dreams, anything is possible. Any paramedic, any police officer, she can be anything she wants ― even president if she wants someday.”
This profile is part of month-long series of stories ― called Mana Wahine ― about extraordinary women in Hawaii. To see our other profiles, head to our Sunrise page.