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Jeff See

New Position: Director, patient care, Bayfront Medical Center, St. Petersburg. Previous Position: Manager, Bayflite, Bayfront Medical Center, St. Petersburg

By Times Staff Writer
Published May 16, 2005

Jeff See has his feet on the ground more these days, but his eyes still are trained skyward.

That's because he holds two positions at Bayfront Medical Center: He's still manager of the Bayflite medical rescue helicopter service, and now he is in charge of the emergency department.

See notes that the positions dovetail in that both concern emergency care. Bayflite makes an estimated 3,200 emergency medical flights a year, he said, while Bayfront's emergency department is one of the state's busiest, with about 50,000 patient visits last year. Bayflite has four helicopters and a staff of 70, See said; the emergency department has a staff of 100.

See said his role is "pretty much an administrative job, although I do work in the emergency department here and there and once in a while I try to get out and fly with folks and visit dispatch.

"It's much better being out there flying around in a helicopter than being in an office. You can see what's going on on the streets," he said. "You get a whole new perspective outside of these four walls."

See, a registered nurse, said he still gets a chance to do some nursing. He admits he would "rather be in the thick of things. That's how I grew up. I still like to get out on the clinical side of things."

Now in a more administrative role, See said his job is to provide support for the emergency staff and flight crews, "whatever they need for their jobs. That's me now."

A native of Winnebago, Ill., a small town outside Rockford, See began his career as a paramedic in the Champagne-Urbana, Ill., area in the early 1980s. He moved to Florida and worked for the Sarasota County Fire Department as a paramedic and firefighter until the late 1980s.

In 1990, See earned an associate's degree in nursing from Hillsborough Community College, and in 1997 earned a bachelor's degree in business from National Louis University in Tampa. After getting his associate's degree, See was a staff nurse at Bayfront Medical Center until moving to the University Hospital in Stonybrook, N.Y., as a staff nurse in a trauma center in 1992. The next year, See returned to Bayfront and took a position with Bayflite, first as manager of emergency and trauma services and later as program manager.

Becoming a registered nurse wasn't in See's original plans, he said. After working for several years as a paramedic and firefighter, "it seemed like I had done everything you could do. I wanted to further my education and do something clinical," he said. "Nursing seemed to be it."

The new career proved to be a perfect fit, See said, as he moved more into management positions in emergency departments. "Emergency departments are where the streets meet the hospital," he said. "It was an opportunity to learn more, work closer with physicians, with trauma surgeons."

See said he has no desire to become a physician himself. "I'm 45. I'm way past that curve," he said. "I like what I'm doing. I have a good understanding of what goes on on the floor and up in Bayflite.

"If I want to fly, I can fly. If I want to work in ER, I can do that."

See is president-elect of the Florida Air Medical Association and on the customer service advisory board for Air Methods, a vendor that supplies helicopters.

See, who lives in Palm Harbor, said he counters potential burnout by staying active, playing "a lot of tennis (and) golf, and fishing."

[Last modified May 13, 2005, 18:40:03]

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