College Area: North West
What has been your career pathway that has led you to this role:
I started working for the Ambulance Service 26 years ago on the patient transport service, this was followed by a move to the training section of the income generation department. I progressed into the Accident and Emergency Service and then on to become a paramedic. I have completed secondments to develop my clinical skills in the North West Air Ambulance as well as a Community Development Officer in Manchester. I have also worked as a Senior Paramedic.
I have been a motorcyclist for over 16 years riding a variety of bikes. The advantage of the bike enables you to be more engaging with the environment than in a car . The combination of the two skills of good clinical practice and a motorcyclist resulted in me becoming a motorcycle paramedic in November last year.
What do you like most about your role:
The versatility of the bike means that you can get through traffic when an ambulance will not be able to. Once on scene you are able to provide life-saving intervention ready for transport to definitive care at the appropriate specialist unit or to discharge the patient on scene preventing unnecessary admissions through alternative resources and community services.
What do you like least about your role:
When the weather is particularly very hot, it can make the wearing of the protective clothing very uncomfortable, especially when performing CPR. Also, the inappropriate use of the ambulance service, when people call 999, not knowing where to turn for medical help, but knowing that the ambulance service will turn up to help.
What skills do you think are important to your role:
Excellent clinical skills, good motorcycle road craft skills and good customer service.
What are the biggest challenges facing paramedics today:
As a profession we have evolved rapidly over the last decade. From taking everyone to A&E and following guidelines designed to be used in hospitals, we are now benefiting from our own research and development of robust guidelines and procedures that support our clinical practice to provide the best patient outcome. Unfortunately, we have become a victim of our own professional development resulting in more calls for help to solve many complex social and long-term chronic issues.
What is your one most important benefit of being a member and why:
The development of education. When I became a paramedic the vast majority of my training was in relation to emergency life threatening incidents. As we have evolved as a service the majority of our incidents are now long term chronic problems that require some very different skills. The recognition of the College has helped change the education of undergraduates as well as develop post graduate education in order that we have a better skill match to meet the needs of our developing role.
How would you like to see the College develop over the next five years:
There are a number of developing specialist roles now within the profession with urgent care practitioners and research paramedics. I have always believed that as individuals and services we work too much in isolation and that the collaboration and sharing of ideas and practices can only benefit patient care and outcome. I believe that the College’s role in representing paramedics through the development of research and establishing standards for education, clinical practice, and personal conduct in clinical practice supports the highest standards of patient care. It is only in this way that paramedics have a voice in determining how changes in health service provision, legislation and clinical practice are shaped and implemented.