Women in Paramedicine

To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March when women all over the world are celebrated for their social, economical, cultural and political achievements, women within the College of Paramedics are taking over all College channels, with various activities planned; from hosting all female panels, to covering an abundance of gender equality related issues and topics, through to celebrating the day with female-orientated content.  
 

‘THE RESUS ROOM’ PODCAST 

As part of our International Women’s Day celebrations, we’re delighted to announce a special podcast by women within the paramedic profession, brought to you by the team at The Resus Room, working in partnership with the Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine. 
 
The Resus Room is a Free Open Access Medical Education site, FOAMed. The content centres around care of patients in and around The Resus Room. 
 
In this special International Women’s Day podcast, Gemma Richmond (HEMS Paramedic with Yorkshire Air Ambulance), Clare Fitchett (Critical Care Paramedic with Thames Valley Air Ambulance) and Vicki Brown (Great Western Air Ambulance Advanced Practitioner in Critical Care) discuss debriefing; the types, tools that can be used to help, how and when to debrief and the benefits that come from it.

The podcast can be accessed on 8th March from the following places: 

The Resus Room 

iTunes

Spotify
 

BLOGS 

In celebration of International Women’s Day the March issue of Paramedic INSIGHT is a special edition with all articles written by women in the paramedic profession.    

A free subscription to Paramedic INSIGHT is a benefit for members of the College of Paramedics, however, to highlight the importance of equality for women and celebrate women’s achievements within paramedicine, we’ve decided to publish three inspirational, thought-provoking articles on our blog for all to read, along with an editorial from another one of our member benefits, the British Paramedic Journal

Click here to read the articles. 
 

VIDEOS 

Women working senior management roles in the paramedic profession reflect on equality during their time in the profession, giving their thoughts on how equality and opportunities for women in the workplace can be improved, and highlighting that a world where diversity, inclusion and equality is essential in achieving the best outcomes for society. 

Click here to watch. 

Sexual Harassment and Inappropriate Behaviours Webinars

With the introduction of the Student Paramedic Council in January 2021, the Student Council has taken a proactive approach to initiating discussion on the experiences of female students in the paramedic profession.

As a prosperous beginning to the Student Council’s support of issues facing paramedic students, vital conversations have led to the creation of a series of webinars to provide all paramedics with the tools to recognise sexual harassment and to feel empowered to challenge and report it in the most effective and appropriate way.

Click here to watch the webinars.
 

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: WOMEN AT WORK MISSION 

International Women’s Day has a number of Missions, one of which is the Women at Work Mission, with a goal of forging inclusive work cultures where women’s careers can thrive and their achievements can be celebrated. As part of the College of Paramedics takeover, we are featuring women in paramedicine, to showcase the huge contribution that women make to our profession.   
 
Click on each of the images below to read the full profile. 
 

 
Kaitee Robinson
Paramedic and Clinical Lecturer at the University of Cumbria

After a false start in 2006, a brief foray into another emergency service, and motivated by a very sad and sudden death of a close relative, I entered the profession in 2014 via the Student Ambulance Paramedic route within the trust. From my very first day, I brought with me an extensive passion for patient care, alongside a varied experience of working within the public sector.

Since registering as a Paramedic, I first worked as a Paramedic Practice Educator mentoring students within the operational environment, before transferring into education and training. I successfully led various courses full time whilst studying simultaneously for an MSc in Medical Education, graduating last year with a distinction.

My biggest passion and goal in life is to help support and make a difference to my students, whilst giving back to the community we serve. I pride myself on providing a high level of pastoral care, as well as instilling in students the importance of treating patients they encounter with the utmost respect, and dignity. After not having had the most positive start to being a student, I feel I can truly understand what they are going through at times, championing the importance of leading by example, remembering always to be kind. Now, as an academic at the University of Cumbria, I can continue to influence the safety and wellbeing of students whilst sharing my longstanding passion and enthusiasm for the profession. 
Amy Foster
Senior Lecturer in Urgent and Primary Care

Having worked with the paramedic profession for over 10 years, mainly within Emergency Departments, and although a nurse and ACP by profession, I have grown to love and become part of an amazing group of professionals who add an additional layer of quality care to the patient’s journey. More recently I had the opportunity to join the continuing professional development team at the University of Cumbria bringing my extensive knowledge and experience to enhance clinicians’ development, whilst working to introduce an exciting new programme aimed at paramedics wishing to step into primary care. It was important to me that I could continue to work with the broader multidisciplinary team who formed a large part of my clinical practice alongside developing my love of academia, debate, enquiry, and knowledge sharing, which my role as a senior lecturer in urgent and primary care offers in abundance. Having the ability to see the paramedic profession flourish and continue to achieve above and beyond is what motivates me intrinsically to provide the best experience through academic CPD which ultimately impacts and benefits the health service and its patients. 
Danielle Clark
Paramedic and Learning Environment Clinical Lead

At 17, the death of a parent forced me to leave home and finish my education with only an A-level in General Studies. After a decade in retail and travel work, I joined Yorkshire Ambulance as a student paramedic, truly and happily believing that the rest of my career would be spent on ambulances, but being a paramedic has given me so much more than that.

I worked at the 2012 Olympics, the Tour de France and being a paramedic has provided a career that has progressed through A&E, Elderly care, Primary care, and education. I’ve completed a PGCE and many clinical courses including non-medical prescribing. I am now on the final module of my MSc, developing a primary research project.

I feel I have taken a “round-about” approach to the College’s career framework having been fortunate to have opportunities to try out all of its pathways!

I am passionate about the profession and keen that routes into paramedic careers are open to all, so feel privileged to have been involved in a variety of projects to develop vocational and apprenticeship qualifications. Presently, I am working as a Clinical Lead on a Health Education England funded project to expand placement opportunities for health students and it is exciting to be to working to identify education and career opportunities for future generations of paramedics. 
Sam Thompson
Senior Lecturer in Paramedic Science

Aged 17 I left school with dreams of being a paramedic. My mother had other ideas declaring paramedics to be glorified taxi drivers and instead I began working in pensions (yes…really!)!! I subsequently joined Kent Ambulance before undertaking a paramedic degree with St George’s, University of London. On graduating I was stunned to be invited back to undertake guest lecturing, and was eventually appointed a Senior Lecturer in Paramedic Science; a post I still hold today.

In 2016 I attended three rapes in quick succession which became a career defining event. Having zero training, I was entirely out of my depth, and started reading. This included the 2016 JR Calc guidelines which I felt did not necessarily demonstrate best practice. Being a nerd, I searched the evidence and approached the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) with my findings. They blew me away by asking me to rewrite them. Despite massive imposter syndrome (I am only Sam Thompson I argued), I felt compelled to do so and in 2017 new guidelines were published transforming ambulance care for this very vulnerable group. St George's University, the AACE, College of Paramedics and Class Publishing championed me and gave me a platform to speak publicly to wide audiences of health care professionals to spread the word.

In 2018 my journey looked like it was over when I acquired a brain injury, but those who had championed me were having none of it and to this day I continue to be supported unfailingly by them and now speak internationally as well as being published in various media formats. I am humbled to sit on the Intercollegiate and Domestic Violence Agencies Committee where we have been advising the government on the inclusion of healthcare related matters in the Domestic Violence Act 2021, and I also sit on the academic committee of the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine.

I’m currently undertaking a Masters in Violence against Women and Girls and have a mission to transform the care of all rape and sexual assault patients presenting to healthcare professionals nationwide. I have a lot of work to do. At the heart of it however I am not fooled by my own rhetoric. I am Sam Thompson, Paramedic. Nothing more, and nothing less and completely recognise more than anything the debt of gratitude I owe to the people who continue to support and believe in me and allow me to try to make a difference. 
Georgette Eaton
Clinical Practice Development Manager Advanced Paramedic Practitioners Urgent Care

I didn't know what a paramedic did when I applied to university. I had wanted to be a firefighter, but enjoyed biology, so paramedic science seemed a good compromise between the two at the age of 18! Starting with a FdSc at Coventry University, I topped up to a BSc to complete the 'ECP' models whilst working in the ambulance service, and placements in primary and urgent care. On completion of the degree, I was offered bank employment at my placement sites, and enjoyed the variety this offered for a number of years.

My clinical progression took me to a range of other settings, incluing primary care, urgent care, and higher education. When the advert came out for my current role as the Clinical Practice Development Manager Advanced Paramedic Practitioners in Urgent Care, it was an opportunity to combine my portfolio roles into one employment. Becoming a manager in the ambulance service was never something I had ever considered - there were few female paramedic managers when I was a student, or even when I qualified. It had never really been a viable career aspiration of mine - female clinical leaders just didn't exist. Paramedic workforces, across a range of clinical settings, have an increasingly equal gender split. However, even now, I know I am in the minority of female clinical managers in my organisaton, and have experienced a lot of sexim for holding a senior management position. Despite this, I wear the epaulettes associated with my role with pride; hoping that future female paramedics see the role I undertake and develop their own aspirations to enter into such role, and go beyond: "You can't be what you can't see", and I am proud to play a part in changing the visibility of the female clinical manager. 
Helen Beaumont-Waters
Paramedic & Head of Clinical Development (Primary and Urgent Care)

My career as a paramedic started in the ambulance service nearly thirty years ago as a ‘receiver’ answering 999 calls. I quickly realised that I wanted to help the people I was speaking to in a face-to-face capacity, and I progressed through my technician training and IHCD paramedic to become registered in 1995. I am very proud of my low registration number PA 00469, though it does make me feel ancient! I have had the privilege of working with some truly inspirational paramedics in inner city Bradford and the Craven area of the Yorkshire Dales. The most fun I have had on an ambulance was when working with my sister Ali who is a paramedic in Calderdale, we have so many stories we could share! Things have changed dramatically since our first shifts on the road, I remember days when patients were surprised that two sisters half their age and half their weight could lift them. Clinically I work as an advanced paramedic in general practice. Since my initial IHCD qualification, I have continued to learn, completing the Emergency Care Practitioner award, my MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice and then specialised with a PGDip in Care of the Elderly. My current study is focused upon Medical Education which will help in my College role. At the College of Paramedics I am Head of Clinical Development (Primary and Urgent Care). My priority is to support paramedics working in non-traditional environments and encourage them to grow, develop and achieve their own dreams. 
Dr Louise Reynolds
Associate Professor in Paramedicine and Registered Paramedic

I am an Associate Professor in Paramedicine and Registered Paramedic. This year I will be celebrating my 30th anniversary of commencing my prehospital career as a student paramedic with SA (South Australia) Ambulance Service. For the next 10 years, I held various operational and non-operational roles, before moving into higher education in 2003 at Flinders University.

As Australia’s first female paramedic to attain doctoral qualifications, my thesis used qualitative methods to describe the workplace culture of the emerging profession of prehospital care practice. I am five times editor of ‘Understanding the Australian Health Care System’ in which I contribute the chapter on the role of paramedics and paramedicine.

My academic career spans teaching vocationally, undergraduate, postgraduate levels across Australia, South-East Asia and the UK. My research interests include qualitative methodologies in paramedicine education, systems and leadership. I am currently Course Chair at Victoria University. I am an active member in the Australasian College of Paramedicine serving as Deputy Chair Research Committee, as well as member of the Education Committee, Women’s Special Interest Group and Future Working Group. I have acted as expert witness on industrial wage claims, consulted on international paramedicine curriculum design and developed global BLS/ALS training solutions for an UN agency.

Drawing on the principles of public health, I see the future of contemporary paramedicine as primary community based care model of service delivery. This model of service delivery provides equitable access to those who are most vulnerable and disadvantaged given the current pressures and demands in accessing affordable health care. 
Dr Ursula Rolfe
Principal Academic, HoD and Faculty Lead for Practice Simulation

After immigrating to the UK in 2009, I began my university career as a Lecturer Practitioner in Paramedic Science at Bournemouth University. I have since been promoted to Principal Academic, Head of Department and Faculty Lead for Practice Simulation at Bournemouth University. I was also employed as a training officer for South West Ambulance Service Foundation Trust from 2009 to 2012. It was whilst working alongside with my paramedic colleagues and teaching paramedic students that my PhD research subject was borne – How paramedics manage patients experiencing mental health issues (awarded in 2018 by University of Southampton). This created a springboard for my work around supporting paramedics who manage mental health patients and my appointment as Mental Health Lead for the College of Paramedics. Together with my paramedic colleagues, I have now published a book Mental Health Care in Paramedic Practice: A Book for Paramedics by Paramedics (Class Publishing) and continue to mentor, develop and support staff in developing their academic careers within a paramedic framework.

My passion is to influence, support and deliver a standardised curriculum around mental health nationally for Higher Education Institutes and Ambulance Trusts and I will continue to raise the importance of education and support around the delivery of this for our future workforce. 
Rhian Monteith
Paramedic & Director of Think Outs Ltd

When I was applying for jobs in the ambulance service in 1999, it turned out I was too small!

The minimum height was 5’3” and I was 5’2”. So, I stuffed an inch of blue roll in my shoes and the rest is history.

I joined the ambulance service at 21 because I was a nosy parker and wanted to know what was going on. I also wanted to get to the root of problems quickly and help people find a way through their personal emergencies, and did this for almost two decades.

Then I turned my hand to working with NHS England & Improvement on finding solutions to intractable problems and was awarded a British Empire Medal last year for my contribution.

One of my loves now is to coach people in how to manage life’s twists and turns. Showing them how to keep walking forwards when life trips you up, not just what to do. Not just surviving life events by the skin of our teeth but how to make them work for us.

I love it!

The biggest thing I share is that there is a way in, a way out and a way through every situation or problem.

Being a coach is a perfect complement to being a paramedic as a lot of the skills are transferrable, including having the courage to challenge, problem solve, have difficult conversations, and mentor people.

If I had my time over again, I’d choose exactly the same career because there’s no other like it. 
Rebecca Godfrey
Senior Operations Manager & Chair of WMAS Women's Network 

I joined Shropshire Ambulance service in 1996 at the age of 21, a small rural service it was a great place to learn the ropes and build my confidence as a technician. In 1998 I became a paramedic and the realisation that I was clinically responsible for my patients weighed heavy. Fortunately I had some fantastic mentors who guided and supported me through those early years, and the camaraderie we had allowed me to grow and develop into a good clinician. In those days it was still quite a male dominated environment, and as a young woman I was conscious that there were no female leads to aspire to. Although I knew strong female paramedics there was little representation in management or leadership, this often showed as a lack of compassion and empathy from managers.

I felt really strongly that by moving into a leadership role I could support my colleagues in a more pro-active way and make sure some of those bad experiences I had are not repeated with others.

I have moved up the management ladder and am now a Senior Operations Manager at WMAS and I am incredibly proud of the job I do. Whilst I will always be a paramedic at heart I now try to ensure colleagues are happy and well supported in their roles.

I have recently taken that responsibility one step further by becoming the chair of the Women’s Network at WMAS, I want women in our organisation to feel empowered, encouraged and supported through their careers. 
Mahdiyah Bandali
Paramedic

Since graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Paramedicine in 2020, I have been a strong advocate in the representation of ethnic and religious minorities within the sector. In my journey, I have been lucky enough to have my voice heard in multiple different areas in which I can take on an active role in improving diversity in the Ambulance service.

I am a member of the College of Paramedics' Diversity Steering group in which I am chair of the Race, Ethnic and Cultural heritage strand. This has enabled me to represent the profession in meetings with the wider NHS leadership teams and the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities on behalf of the UK Cabinet office. This is perhaps one of my proudest achievements as I am not only able to speak up, but actively change and shape the future of Paramedicine through the many projects on behalf of the DSG.

My unique position in Paramedicine has led me to speaking in multiple conferences, being featured in news articles, on the radio and on tv, and recently having the amazing experience of delivering a TEDx talk in January 2022.

I also work with the wider NHS in the form of the NHS Muslim Women's group and British Islamic Medical Association to tackle Islamophobia in healthcare and work closely with multiple religious organisations to deliver vital first aid training. Having the special opportunity to not only represent Paramedicine but my faith as well has been one of the main sources of what keeps me motivated and passionate in doing what I believe in.  
Vicki Brown
Advanced Practitioner - Critical Care & Consultant Practitioner in Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine (FPHC)

I have been a paramedic since 2004, having joined the ambulance service in 2002. In this time, I have undertaken various roles including in; learning and development, mentoring and management. I currently work at Great Western Air Ambulance Charity as an Advanced Practitioner in Critical Care. This role allows me to autonomously carry out advanced procedures and enables me to undertake advanced decision making.

I am always trying to develop paramedic practice and have recently managed to get on the Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care Level 8 register as a Consultant in Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine.

I enjoy working with and supporting new members of staff and have a big interest in welfare which I believe is very important for the longevity of paramedics.

I hope to continue to develop the paramedic profession and keep pushing it forward. 
Karina Graham
Paramedic

My name is Karina Graham I’ve been a paramedic for seven years, I started my journey in 2015 going from an auxiliary nurse and starting at an ambulance training Academy on a 30 month contract. I went out onto the road as a student paramedic, following that I then became a technician, moving on to becoming a paramedic qualifying as an NQP and now being a band six paramedic.

I thoroughly enjoy my job and the best bit is still the patients for me, I enjoy going to all different ranges of patients, being able to interact with people as a job.

My ambition for the future is to stay within the medical field but there is an abundance of opportunity arising for paramedics now, so where I’ll end up is anyone’s guess!

One thing that I always feel is we are privileged to do our job, to go to people at their worst moments and their happiest and that is something that I will always be proud of.

Leaving a nursing background I believed that I would be going into a male dominated workforce however that wasn't the case and I’ve never felt outnumbered. There are many strong women in the ambulance service with many in senior positions, the future for every woman regardless of our diversities and roles is very bright. 
Emma Williams
Paramedic & Directory of Services Lead

After graduating from University of Worcester in 2014, I began my career as a paramedic in Birmingham city centre, where I loved working. Over the next few years, I reinforced my knowledge within the role and began concentrating on further education.

Since working within the ambulance service I have had two children, resulting in my normal duties being altered, this time gave me an incredible opportunity to explore different areas of the profession. I worked in both ambulance control, completing my ‘Pathways’ course and more recently I worked within the ‘Covid Testing Team’ as the trust’s response to supporting staff through the Covid-19 pandemic.

I am currently in post as Directory of Services Lead, for Coventry and Warwickshire. I am proud to work within a very talented, committed and knowledgeable team, concentrating on providing the best service for patients.

Outside of the ambulance service, I am a committee member of the Health Research Authority (HRA) Research Ethics Committee (REC). Alongside other professionals and lay members, the committee reviews and gives an opinion on how ethical a study is. This work is integral to the progression of healthcare, and ultimately improving patient care and experience, which I am passionate about.  
Helen Hardy
Paramedic & Quality Improvement & Professional Standards Officer

From a background in community and hospital pharmacy, I have had a longstanding interest in healthcare and the training that one may have to undertake to achieve an understanding of patient assessment and treatment.

At 42yrs I was in a position to change profession and apply for a student paramedic role with EEAST. Soon after registration, I accepted the position of Professional Update trainer, I progressed as a Practice Educator for our then ‘new’ BSc students from partner HEIs and went on to accept a secondment as a Lecturer Practitioner with UEA. Five years later, having been supported by EEAST in this 0.5FTE role alongside a substantive position as Clinical Practice Specialist, I put myself in the running for the role of Quality Improvement & Professional Standards Officer – leaving my lecturer role behind and returning full time to EEAST.

In my relatively short career, I have discovered so much that was unknown to me when I first ventured into the Paramedic domain. I have experienced quality time within all four segments of the career framework that the College of Paramedics set out – completing research for my Masters in Higher Education Practice, learning so much about teaching whilst being supported by a fantastic faculty at UEA, leading small projects within practice education in EEAST and, closest to my heart, upholding standards that truly fulfil shared professional values.

The opportunity for Paramedics has never been more exciting, I look ahead to an evolving structure in healthcare where Allied Health Professionals will no doubt be leading the way.

Twitter - @HelenH_Para 
Kirsty Lowery-Richardson
Workforce Transformation Lead (West Yorkshire H&C Partnership) & Paramedic Advisor HEE

I started my paramedic journey over twenty years ago, my career has been brilliant and varied. I quickly took the education pathway, undertaking roles both in the operational and education environments as well as with HEIs, this then led to me attaining an Associate Dean position with HEE, I believe the first paramedic to do so. I now work full time for Health Education England, and I’m hugely fortunate to have a split role where I still get to focus entirely on paramedics for some of my time as the HEE Paramedic Advisor in the national team where I work with another great woman, Beverley Harden.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service was where I got my pivotal career progression opportunity when I was successful in attaining the Lead Paramedic Post; working for the Associate Director of Paramedic Practice I was trusted with autonomy and allowed the space to grow both the role and myself. Women in senior roles truly benefit from great allies to enable them to reach their potential.

I am infinitely proud of my professional background and identity, this drives me to continue working closely with the College in a voluntary capacity as the Vice Chair of the Education Advisory Group. Receiving a Fellowship from the College in 2021 in recognition of my contribution to the profession was a real privilege, I look forward to many more years of progress. 
Bianca Thomas-Mourne
Hazardous Area Response Team Paramedic

I have been working in the ambulance service since 2010 and have been a Hazardous Area Response Team paramedic for over seven years. Originally starting my career at South East Coast Ambulance Service then I relocated to South Western Ambulance Service to allow me to live a more active and outdoor life outside of work.

Within HART I am a minority where I have been the only female on a team for most of my HART career. Having a lack of females around has driven me to become a spearhead of change and I sit on many working groups both locally and nationally to contribute what I can to try and amend this imbalance.

HART has afforded me experiences and training that I would not find anywhere else in the paramedic profession including water rescue, working at height, and urban search and rescue to name but a few. Combining clinical and technical skills has been one of the aspects of HART I have enjoyed the most along with working as a part of a team.

Education is a huge passion of mine and, in my current role as a HART Team Educator, I lead my team in clinical and technical training. I also have a large involvement in student paramedic education and I have been a university visiting lecturer and assessor for a number of years. As a student paramedic myself I was fortunate to have fantastic mentors and have tried to ‘pay it forward’ ever since. 
Jenny Leggott
Paramedic & Senior Lecturer - University of Cumbria

My route into the ambulance service started when I joined Westcountry Ambulance Service as a call taker. The job was only meant to be temporary as I aspired to work within the arts industry as a theatre director, however I was so inspired by the paramedics that I applied for a direct-entry training student paramedic role with the London Ambulance Service (LAS).

Shortly after I qualified, I went to work for the Central Operations team in the LAS where I undertook specialist training to be able to work in unique environments, from responding on foot as a MRT (mobile response team) or PO (public order) medic at events, to marauding terrorist attacks. I then moved and returned to what was now called South Western Ambulance Service, as an Operations Officer where I supported staff members and responded to the most serious of incidents. It is here I developed the bug for education, and I decided to leave the ambulance service to pursue a PgCert in education as at the time there was little opportunity to attain this qualification whilst working full-time.

Following completion of this qualification, I went to work for South Central Ambulance Service as a CSD (clinical support desk clinician) to develop my skill-base further whilst I searched for a job within education. About a year later the role I had been searching for arose and I joined the University of Portsmouth as a lecturer. I am now a Senior Lecturer at the University of Cumbria working on the London paramedic apprenticeship course with a fantastic team.

I am very grateful for all the roles that I have been fortunate enough to experience and hope that opportunities for women within paramedicine continue to broaden. 
Becky Croton
Paramedic & Senior Lecturer - University of Cumbria

As a teenager I had a keen interest in lifeguarding and first aid but a career in the ambulance service was never considered. It was only after working as a lifeguard for Disney Cruise lines and discussing with international colleagues their career plans that I investigated the Paramedic role and qualifications required to pursue this opportunity.

I joined Royal Berkshire Ambulance Trust in 2003 as a Trainee Ambulance Technician, qualifying in 2005, and worked within this role until mid-2006 when I fell pregnant. I was fortunate to complete alternative duties in the Critical Control Centre as an Emergency Call Taker, after which a promotion to Emergency Dispatcher was offered. Both these roles provided an insight into the logistical planning of the Operations department.

In 2010 I returned to frontline duties so that I could complete an FdSC in Paramedic Science, qualifying as a Paramedic in 2012. I continued to progress my career by undertaking a Clinical Team Leader role before moving into the Education department in 2018 where I taught on Clinical Update, Associate Ambulance Practitioner and Emergency Care Assistant courses.

In 2020 I was offered a secondment opportunity as a Clinical Lecturer with the University of Cumbria, teaching on and assisting with the development of the BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science (Apprenticeship) programme. I am now employed as a Senior Lecturer with the university, a challenging but enjoyable role, offering development opportunities within paramedicine and higher education. I recently completed my PGCERT in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education and intend to commence a MA in Education Professional Practice this year, whilst I continue to develop clinical skills and knowledge through participation with the SCAS BASICS scheme. 
Katie Pavoni
Paramedic, Senior Lecturer & Course Director - SGUL

I am a Paramedic, Senior Lecturer & Course Director for the BSc Paramedic Science at St George’s, University of London (SGUL).

I specialise in mental health education/practice and have an MSc Advanced Practice (Mental Health), am a Paramedic Mental Health Practitioner for South East Coast Ambulance Service and am undertaking my PhD in mental health.

I am passionate about challenging stigma and improving mental health support to patients and practitioners, and in particular for student paramedics.

As the SGUL Paramedics Pastoral Lead, I provide support to students, and launched the first ‘Student Paramedic Blue Light Champion’ scheme in the country which provides peer support to enhance resilience and preparedness for practice. I am now a MIND wellbeing lead and hope to support other universities.

I am the co-academic lead for the College of Paramedics (CoP) Future Workforce Mental Health Project, and co-wellbeing lead for HEE’s Paramedic Foundation Preceptorship Programme. I am also a member of the CoP Mental Health & Wellbeing Steering Group.

I work with the British Red Cross and have designed national and international education and have previously managed a national team of paramedics. I have also been the National Lead Safeguarding Officer for Samaritans leading a national multidisciplinary team of practitioners across the UK.

As a woman in paramedicine that has often been younger than the people I have supported or led, I have been acutely aware of the need to listen, to learn, to be respectful, diplomatic, empathic and curious, but to know when to have the courage to challenge, to be passionate and brave when striving for change.

I believe in compassionate leadership and that kindness is not a weakness but is instead daring and courageous. I have learnt that being authentic to who you are rather than who you think you should be is so important if we are to inspire others to do the same. 
Ashleigh Finn
Lecturer in Paramedicine and A/Clinical Course Chair

I am a paramedic who has worked both nationally and internationally. I started my career with Queensland Ambulance Service in 2014, before taking the opportunity to work in the United Kingdom, with the London Ambulance Service. I am currently a Lecturer in Paramedicine and the A/Clinical Course Chair at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia. I remain clinical, working with Ambulance Victoria.

I am currently completing my Master of Specialist Paramedic Practice (Intensive Care) and undertaking a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) research project, exploring self-directed learning within undergraduate paramedicine curricula.

I have received multiple Vice Chancellor citations for Excellence in Learning and Teaching and am passionate about improving the delivery of clinical education. I also have strong research interests in LGBTQI+ health education, and international collaboration.

I hope to continue to innovate undergraduate paramedic education and enhance the diversity amongst curricula.  
Michelle O'Toole
Paramedic and Researcher

My paramedic journey started in 2009 when I signed up to a full time fire based EMS organisation and quickly realised that the paramedic side of the job was my passion! I was one of three women in my class during recruit training and the only woman on my watch when I started working operationally on station.

Having experienced lots of critical incidents early on, I became a Peer supporter, and gained experience in providing both one to one and group interventions to my colleagues following tough calls.

My favourite incidents are maternity calls, it's such a privilege to be present during joyous events, when new life enters the world!

In 2017, I continued my studies and became an Advanced Paramedic, Paramedic Tutor and Examiner @PHECC and now, 13 years later I'm a full time researcher working in Simulation education and research @RCSISIM. My main areas of research interest are interprofessional education, wellbeing, post traumatic growth and simulating authentic scenarios for transformative learning. I'm delighted to be leading the Paediatric Special Interest Group (SIG) @IPERN and excited to be part of the development of #IrishEMS  
Rebecca White
Clinical Lecturer Paramedic - University of Cumbria 

I changed careers in my 20’s from working in conservation to paramedic practice. When I left my last job someone laughed and said ‘so you want to be a glorified first aider’, I still chuckle at that comment 10 years on. It was a rollercoaster of a journey starting again as a student and adult learner but perseverance saw me qualify very proudly as a Paramedic. Since qualifying I have worked in different teams and with wonderful crewmates. My favourite time was being part of the cycle response unit, which was fantastic until covid got in the way but that end led me to supporting new colleagues at the operational placement centre which has in turn helped me become a clinical lecturer today.

I have applied for different roles along the way there has been success and failure. I have learnt that sometimes things don’t always work out the way you may like at the time however other opportunities arise in the hardest moments and lead to different paths which can work out for the better. It is great to see such a variety of career options developing for paramedics. If someone had said that I would be teaching 10 years after starting my career I would not have believed them. Today I am proud to be able to use my paramedic experience and be part of a team delivering a programme giving colleagues access to higher education. 
Dr Niamh Cummins
Lecturer in Public Health

I am a Lecturer in Public Health at the University of Limerick (UL) in Ireland and my research is in Health Services improvement with a focus on Paramedicine and Emergency Medicine. My PhD is in Biomedical Science so you could call me an Emergency Medical Scientist! I started working in Paramedicine in 2011 as a Research Fellow, providing education and research support to paramedics nationally. I was involved in establishing the first degree programme in Ireland for paramedics here in UL with our first students graduating in 2016.

My research has contributed to national policy changes including the introduction of new models of care (e.g. Emergency Aeromedical Service) and updates in clinical practice guidelines (e.g. Spinal Injury Management) for Irish paramedics.

My work is office-based but I love getting out in the field though it doesn’t happen often enough!

I’ve taken two career breaks – the first was unplanned, due to illness, which made me really passionate about patient advocacy, and the second was very much planned and made me a mother, which is the most important job I’ll ever have! But speaking of happy places, in 2021 I founded the Irish Paramedicine Education and Research Network (IPERN). We are an inter-professional team of paramedics, nurses, doctors, scientists and allied health professionals dedicated to collaboratively building research capacity for paramedicine in Ireland. We’re currently working on the development of a new National Research Strategy for Irish Out-of-Hospital Care with an amazing team of national and international researchers so exciting times ahead! 
Dr Helen Nicholson
Senior Research Fellow - University of the West of England

I completed my PhD in Applied Biological Sciences at Imperial College London in 2008. I was keen to move into a career that would involve working with and helping people rather than plants! After a friend at university suggested becoming a paramedic the idea took hold and I undertook a foundation degree at St George’s with SECAmb. I worked as a paramedic with SECAmb for a few years before becoming a paramedic lecturer at Bournemouth University. From there I have lectured at Plymouth and then as a Senior Lecturer at the University of the West of England (UWE).

I am currently a Senior Research Fellow working with the Emergency Care research team at UWE. I really enjoy being able to combine my research background with a passion for improving paramedic practice and patient outcomes and I hope to continue to build my emergency care research experience. I am lucky to have amazing female role models and peers and their support has been essential for me. I would love to see more women in senior roles throughout paramedicine and hope that women continue to support each other whilst aiming high. 
Kate Shaw
Primary Care Paramedic

I joined the LAS in 2009 on the student paramedic programme. I worked at Fulham for 5 years, then transferred to Central Operations to work as a FRU trained in MTFA working closely with the armed section of the police.

I did a stint as a mentor for new paramedics and TEACs before joining HART where I trained in water rescue, breathing apparatus, confined space, and safe working at height. We worked alongside the police and the fire brigade. I then trained in Urban Search and Rescue; during this time I went to Jordan and helped train the Syrian Civil Defence Rescue teams, a proud time for me.

After 10 years in the ambulance service I took a sabbatical and went travelling with my dog, living on a yoga retreat in Spain.

In 2018 I went to Greece and taught basic first aid and BLS in refugee camps.

I returned in late 2019 and when the Covid pandemic began I started work as a primary care paramedic, which I am still doing and love.

I teach yoga and meditation, and have recently completed a course which enables me to teach yoga to cancer patients to help them deal with the side effects of their illness and treatment. I am currently studying for a minor illness qualification.

I became a paramedic because I wanted to help people and I wanted to be exposed to all aspects of humanity. It has delivered, as I hope I have. 
Rin Passmore
Paramedic/NIHR CRN Research Scholar

I never knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life when I was younger, other than go on adventures, but somehow found myself working as an NHS paediatric dietitian. After 9yrs, I had an epiphany… I wanted to retrain as a paramedic. I’d recently joined the Army reserves as a medic and was really enjoying the clinical training which inspired me to take the leap. I started with WMAS in 2017 on their student paramedic program as I felt this route suited me better and I haven’t looked back since.

There will always be a dietitian in me though so along with my frontline duties as a Clinical Team Mentor and honorary MECC queen (make every contact count), I have a research scholarship through the NIHR’s Clinical Research Network. This provides academic supervision through the University of Birmingham and allows me the time to undertake my own research project into cardiovascular health of ambulance personnel, something I feel particularly passionate about. I’m not sure what my next steps will be but there are plenty of avenues within the paramedic world and I’ve never been one to shy away from new opportunities. 
Emma Bogle
Regional Appropriate Pathways Lead and Paramedic 

I have been in the ambulance service for 28 years, all of which have been with West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust. My Dad began running with me to make sure I passed the fitness test and my uncle supported me with my application.

At 17 years old, I found myself working at an all-male ambulance station where earning respect came in the form of being able to really communicate with patients, lift and carry whatever was required and  make a good cup of tea! I became a paramedic mentor and then an air ambulance paramedic before stepping into the first line of management. Despite a steep learning curve into training and managing volunteers for the ambulance service I have since progressed to working with both internal and external stakeholders collaboratively to support patients receiving the right care first time.

I am an active coach for the Midlands Leadership Academy and regularly supports Engaging Leaders’ events for the development of others.  These roles and achievements led to me receiving a Chamberlain Dunn Learning Award for Advancing Healthcare and being a finalist of the Regional NHS Leadership Recognition Awards.

As I reflect on  International Women's Day a key part of my journey has been the positive support from women and men role models. I strive to continue this and be a better advocate for women through speaking up, listening and being an ally to get the fair and equal opportunities deserved. 
Lina Akhtar
3rd Year Student Paramedic

I’m a current 3rd Year Student Paramedic studying at university. Being a part of the emergency services and being present during people’s most difficult moments is such a huge honour. I feel privileged and proud to have the opportunity to be able to represent Muslim women in this profession and further build upon a diverse assembly of clinicians. I admire how the role evolves beyond purely medical care, giving focus to other needs including mental health. I value having the opportunity to observe other health care professionals and services work from all sectors, being able to ask questions and get involved. I am the oldest and the first child in my immediate family to go to university, let alone study a challenging degree in emergency care. My goal in this lifetime is to make a difference and to make a positive impact and imprint in people’s lives. Life is short and unpredictable, so what better opportunity is there then to become a health care professional? During this current Paramedic journey of mine, I’ve also taken the opportunity to blog my experiences and encounters. From this simple decision, I’ve found I’ve been able to help, inspire and guide others onto making their career decisions and choices. Many have now gone on to study Paramedicine, and I’m so grateful to know that I’ve made that impact, especially seeing as more women, including Muslim women, are joining the ambulance service. I hope to continue having this impact, even after hopefully completing this degree and upon becoming a Newly Qualified Paramedic. 
Juliet Harrison
Associate Professor in Paramedic Science & Advanced Paramedic (taken from email signature)

I took an MSc to become an advanced paramedic in 2017 and I currently work as an Associate Professor lecturing student paramedics at UEA. I get torn between teaching and a clinical role, as I love both. Probably one of the things I am most proud of is winning a Student Union award for ‘Most Inspiring Teaching’ along with the Vice-Chancellors Award.
#TheSkinnyAboutSkin is my current PhD project, looking at paramedics' experience in assessing patients of all skin colours. I am asking if we can recognise the clinical signs of deterioration equally rapidly in all skin colours, or if we lack training in this area. My prior published research looked at what ambulance trusts could do to improve the working lives of their frontline staff to benefit health. Research is a relatively new step for me though, especially as all my training (academic and clinical) happened in later life. I worked in video/TV for many years, whilst re-sitting GCSEs and beginning an Open University degree, before I took on a student paramedic job with an ambulance trust.
My message would be that if you want to learn something, then it's do-able if you have the motivation, mindset and enthusiasm (and maybe the time management too…). Working now within a team of highly motivated individuals is inspiring, and it’s the same inspiration when I encounter paramedics in practice. Paramedics are evolving fast into so many areas with such expertise, and I feel privileged to be able to call myself one. 
Georgie Gill
Paramedic and Teaching Fellow

I’m a Paramedic and Teaching Fellow working for the Department of Medicine for the Elderly and MDTea Podcast in East Surrey. I qualified as a Paramedic from the University of Brighton in 2018 and spent 3 years working for the local NHS Ambulance Trust. During this time I completed my MSc in Public Health- Health Promotion part time.

I spend my time balancing between making the MDTea podcast where we talk about care of older adults and the role of the multidisciplinary team caring for older people, as well as designing and delivering teaching to MDT colleagues. I also work in the emergency department for our front door frailty team. You will also still find me on an ambulance sometimes too!

I love being a paramedic, I think we have the best role in healthcare! We might all start on ambulances but there are so many opportunities to have new experiences and learn more available to us. For instance, one person can specialise in critical care whilst another might do working at height and rescue, another minor illness and another policy and public health! I’d like to progress and become an ACP probably in an area of practice related to older persons' care and frailty. I’d also like to undertake a PhD in the future, and probably get involved in educating future paramedics too - the world's your oyster as a paramedic and there’s plenty of new roles and experiences to try all the time! 
Gemma Howlett
Principal Lecturer Paramedic Apprenticeship Programmes University of Cumbria

Being in the ambulance service was never part of my grand plan, after graduating from my first degree I did a variety of jobs none of which excited or challenged me. Frustrated and unsure exactly what I wanted to do I came across and advert for an ECA role with GWAS, I applied and got in not knowing anything about the service or the profession really. I fell in love with the role and never looked back.

I moved to West Midlands Ambulance service in 2010 to start on my journey to becoming a paramedic taking on their student paramedic role. I qualified at the end of 2011 and loved it. I loved mentoring and helping learners develop and qualify so started doing some visiting lecturing at the university of Worcester. I found my love of education here and embarked on a full-time lecturer practitioner role.

My three great loves (apart from my wife and children) teaching, studying and paramedicine combined, the role was perfect.

I am now a Principal Lecturer with the University of Cumbria working on their apprenticeship programmes. I love working on such a big programme that has widening participation to higher education at its heart. I am focussed on making our profession fairer and more representative of the communities we serve and seeing far more diversity in senior management roles. I want to see gender equity in all areas of the profession and importantly senior management. I think our services and profession will be better for it. 
Liz Harris
Paramedic & Head of Professional Standards

My career as a paramedic started in the ambulance service nearly thirty years ago as a ‘receiver’ answering 999 calls. I quickly realised that I wanted to help the people I was speaking to in a face-to-face capacity, and I progressed through my technician training and IHCD paramedic to become registered in 1995. I am very proud of my low registration number PA 00469, though it does make me feel ancient! I have had the privilege of working with some truly inspirational paramedics in inner city Bradford and the Craven area of the Yorkshire Dales. The most fun I have had on an ambulance was when working with my sister Ali who is a paramedic in Calderdale, we have so many stories we could share! Things have changed dramatically since our first shifts on the road, I remember days when patients were surprised that two sisters half their age and half their weight could lift them. Clinically I work as an advanced paramedic in general practice. Since my initial IHCD qualification, I have continued to learn, completing the Emergency Care Practitioner award, my MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice and then specialised with a PGDip in Care of the Elderly. My current study is focused upon Medical Education which will help in my College role. At the College of Paramedics I am Head of Clinical Development (Primary and Urgent Care). My priority is to support paramedics working in non-traditional environments and encourage them to grow, develop and achieve their own dreams. 
Rebecca Denham
Senior Lecturer Paramedic Science - University of Gloucestershire

Having spent my early twenties unsure what to do with my life, I hit the grand age of 24 and (inspired by my cardiology nurse-specialist Mum) decided to pursue a career in paramedicine. I enrolled on the first ever intake of direct entry paramedic students at the University of Worcester in January 2007, and never looked back! I enjoyed completing the 2-year foundation degree to enable me to register with the HCPC, gaining incredible experience and making lifelong friends along the way.

I qualified as a paramedic in January 2009 and went on to enjoy a number of years working for West Midlands Ambulance service (WMAS). During this time, I gained a mentoring qualification and enriched my day to day work as a sign-off mentor for undergraduate students. I also completed an advanced paramedic course with WMAS, broadening my skill set and working on a car gaining another different perspective on the role and furthering my professional development. Eventually education became my passion and focus and I left WMAS in 2017 to further my career in Higher Education, becoming a tutor and then senior lecturer at the University of Worcester.

I am passionate that driving change and developing best practice in pre-hospital care stems from education, challenge and positive changes in societal and work place culture. In order to continue pursuing this, I moved to the University of Gloucestershire in November 2020 taking on a senior lecturer role there.

I am currently studying for a MSc Advanced in Advanced Professional Practice, and am looking forward to commencing an External Examiner role for Liverpool John Moores University in September 2022.

Outside of work I am kept busy by my children, dogs and horses, and as many trips to seaside as can feasibly be achieved! 
Sasha Johnston
Research Paramedic

I started my career an Emergency Medical Technician in the UK in 2002. After moving to the Caribbean and spending 18-months working for the Cayman Islands ambulance service, I qualified as a paramedic in 2008. Most of my career has been spent responding to patients’ emergency and urgent care needs, whilst mentoring and supporting paramedic students and colleagues.

My career highlights include working as part of the project team that set up the South West’s first Hazardous Area Response Team and being nominated by my colleagues for the Pride of Britain award after spearheading a fundraising campaign where ambulance staff raised 70k in two weeks for a colleague’s experimental cancer treatment. My work-related experiences motivated me to explore how ambulance organisations could better support employee wellbeing and led to me successfully applying for NIHR funding to complete a Masters in Clinical Research. I put this learning into practice as a Research Paramedic which led to my biggest work-related achievement to date of being accepted by the University of Oxford to undertake a DPhil with a proposal related to ambulance employee wellbeing. This was a fantastic personal achievement, only made possible by the growth of pre-hospital research and academic support for paramedics, alongside support from organisations such as the College of Paramedics.

My love for ambulance work and ongoing motivation is driven by ensuring that patients receive the best care possible. I believe the best way of achieving this is by establishing a culture where staff feel valued, cared for, and are enabled to participate in high quality education, research, and reflective practice. 
Beth Pell
Paramedic and Trainee ACP

Growing up my career objectives took the form of a Make-up artist, Palaeontologist and a vet. Working in healthcare did not cross my mind until the age of 19 when a close family member had begun training as a cadet for the local Ambulance Service; I recall being in awe of the stories she told me and the camaraderie she expressed with her fellow colleagues. One day she approached me and mentioned that a new role was about to be advertised called an Emergency Care Assistant. After some consideration I decided to apply and discovered the closer I got to the interview the more passionate I was about getting the job. To my delight I was accepted and after a few short weeks training I stepped onto the forecourt of Walsall Ambulance Station as the First ECA on the road. A short time later I completed my conversion Foundation Degree to become a qualified Paramedic at Worcester University. Nearly 20 years later my career has seen me in a variety of roles including working for The Mental Health Service as a Street Triage Paramedic and a Clinical Transformation Lead, a Disability Assessor and a Clinical Lead for the 111 service. I currently work for the local GP surgery on same day triage and in the Minor Injury Unit whilst training to be an Advanced Clinical Practitioner, often topping up my hours working for Cornwall out of hours GP service. The opportunities for work and learning available have come a long way since I first started all those years ago and I hope that women everywhere continue to develop and be given the opportunity to develop as I have. 

Alyesha Proctor
Senior Lecturer Paramedic Science - Univeristy of the West of England

I qualified as a paramedic in 2014 from The University of Hertfordshire, and worked as a frontline paramedic in London. While working, I undertook an MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice at St George's University in London, to achieve my ambition of working as an Advanced Paramedic Practitioner in general practice. I have worked part time in a GP surgery in Bristol for six years alongside working as a Senior Lecturer in paramedic science at The University West of England (UWE), where I obtained a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PgCAP). I also have a keen interest in research and have recently been successful in my NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship application (PhD), which I will begin after maternity leave. This will involve working clinically in general practice, on the ambulance and in a children’s hospital, since my project focuses on paediatric minor head injury. I have worked hard to progress my research career with eight peer reviewed publications and I am co-applicant on two NIHR grant applications. I am Co-editor of a book with Class Publishing titled ‘Paramedics in Primary Care’, and the Co-author of another book titled ‘Sexual Health and Contraception: a Handbook for Primary Care Practitioners’, both due for completion in 2022. I am interested in the clinical decision-making processes that occur out-of-hospital, the interfaces between primary, secondary, and ambulance care, and the evaluation of pre-hospital interventions to reduce avoidable conveyance. I feel passionate about being involved in paramedicine research, alongside working clinically in a variety of roles. 
Kath Jennings
Academic Portfolio Lead for Paramedic Science - Uni of Greenwich

After years working as one of a very few female newspaper printers in the UK, I was in my thirties when I achieved my goal to join the ambulance service, quite late compared to today’s new starters!

Training first as an Emergency Medical Technician I soon qualified as a paramedic. Then, building on previous experience as an F.E lecturer, I moved into higher education and started my academic career. Holding roles from lecturer-practitioner, lecturer, senior lecturer, and academic lead I also worked ambulance shifts until recently, reluctant to part with patient contact and the camaraderie of the ambulance service.

As an educator I take inspiration from witnessing the transformation of paramedic students, at least half of whom nowadays are women, into confident and competent professionals ready to take on the challenges of a career in paramedicine. What was in the past seen as a man’s job, the role of paramedic has developed and diversified making it possible for more women to see it as a career of choice, and that is great news.

I am proud of my personal development as an academic paramedic, completing a PGCERT-HE, a Master’s degree, Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, researching and publishing, and currently working towards a doctorate. As we all know, we never stop learning when we become paramedics!

Twitter @KathJennings5 
Lisa Brindley
Paramedic

I started working as a Community First Responder in 2005, I loved the role and found quickly that I wanted to do more to help the public. I started with WMAS in 2009 when I was 42, so a little later in life. I found a passion for helping people and over the next 4 years went from an Emergency Care Assistant to Technician to completing my Foundation Degree in Paramedic Science at the University of Worcester.

I really enjoyed my job and my experience found, in the NHS, women were treated as equals with male counterparts. I still felt I had more to give so completed my full Batchelor of Science in Emergency Care Practitioner which also included Minor Illnesses and Injuries. I felt this gave me more skills to assess my patients even more efficiently.

After 3 years I felt I had gone as far as I could as a paramedic and left the Ambulance Service to follow a career in Primary Care. I completed my Non-Independent and Supplementary Prescribing course which gave me more autonomy and opened up new roles. I currently work in a GP Practice working alongside Duty Doctors doing telephone triage, assessing, seeing and treating; GP practice’s are embracing us Paramedics.

I am currently looking to start my FCP pathway with a view to completing my MSc - you are never too old to start a new worthwhile career, if I can do it anyone can. 
Jessica Thomas-Mourne
Specialist Paramedic in Critical Care - Devon Air Ambulance

I have worked in healthcare for over a decade, and my primary role is as a Specialist Paramedic in Critical Care (SPCC) at Devon Air Ambulance (DAA); I also work bank shifts as a frontline Paramedic for the ambulance service.

The SPCC role at DAA is split into four aspects: clinical, aviation, charity, and study. Clinically, we respond on both critical care cars and helicopters offering additional skills, drugs and decision-making. In aviation, we are referred to as Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Technical Crewmembers which involves assisting the pilot with aircraft checks, planning, navigation, communication, scene reconnaissance, crowd control and emergency drills; we join our pilots in the simulator for their bi-annual flying tests to practice these.

As charity ambassadors, we interact with other organisations and educational establishments by teaching or delivering talks, attending charity events and county shows, and we undertake quality improvement projects. We also have honorary contracts at our local major trauma centre where we work shifts commonly in the emergency department to maximise our clinical exposure and in theatres to maintain our airway competencies.

Finally, our paramedic team are enrolled on a MSc in Prehospital Critical Care/Retrieval and Transfer; fortunately, we receive ‘supported professional activity’ time which affords us paid study leave.

I am currently undertaking my research dissertation and, after discovering that nationally just 1 in 5 HEMS doctors and 1 in 4 HEMS paramedics are women, I am exploring what is causing this gender imbalance and what can be done to change it. 
Hafeezah Akhtar
Student Paramedic

Initially, I gained interest in the profession for many reasons, one of which was my personal drive to improve the representation in the ambulance trust. I wanted to be part of the change I was looking for, having personal experience with various paramedics - none of whom I identified with. Female. Muslim. Hijabi. 

I started my journey as a Student Paramedic at Coventry University. Alongside University, using volunteering and various other roles I was eager to do something to help with the lack of diversity in the field. I set up my own Instagram (@paramedichafeezah) and Youtube (Student Paramedic Hafeezah). This is a huge achievement of mine as not only have I received many success stories, stating that I was a part of their journey and helped them massively, I have also had many people saying that I inspired them. They said that simply seeing someone like me in the profession inspired them to realise that they can do the same. They mentioned how it is nice to have someone that they could relate to, especially when they felt they were alone in their journey or aspirations. My pure intentions of setting up my social accounts were for this reason. To promote change to occur in our profession. This, alone, showed me it is very much possible for change to happen - one person at a time! I am still at the start of my journey and have so much more to look forward to but it seems so does the profession! 

Sammy M. Wills
Clinical Supervisor / HEMS Paramedic - Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust

"I am a specialist paramedic who is celebrating 20 years flying with Yorkshire Air Ambulance later this year! I have seen many advances including working as the only female in a team of 8 paramedics, to now serving alongside a team of 28 and 6 are operational females including doctors and pilots! It is great to see so many strong women as part of our crew today and it’s a real privilege to work and fly alongside them!

As a clinical supervisor for Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, I enjoy assisting patients on the worst and often life changing days of their lives, but also in enhancing the role of the helicopters.

Designing and running the ‘Embrace retrieval team’ training, to allow paediatric medics to be flown to critically ill children in the Yorkshire and Humberside region has not only helped me achieve a Masters, but in doing so allowed a model for other helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) to follow.

I have also been involved in refreshing the Major Incident Plan in how best to deliver care and share the asset nationally. I became a Winston Churchill Fellow - exploring other countries and how they used their aircraft which helped me prepare for the task.

I also serve voluntary as Primary President for children 18m–11 years in Sheffield for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Teaching and sharing time with the 24 children is a privilege and completely different to my job, it is like a reset button!" 
Natalie Greaves
Paramedic & Clinical Team Mentor - WMAS

"I have worked within the care profession, in various different roles since the age of 16. Seven years into my professional career, I gave birth to my third daughter who, unfortunately, was born with multiple and profound health issues. Given this, I subsequently had frequent contact with the emergency services and was continuously inspired by the paramedics and their work.

At the age of 34 I took the decision to return to college, full time, to complete an ‘Access Health and Studies Diploma’ which, in turn, would enable me to go to university to do my paramedic training. I completed my university course and qualified in 2015 which led to my employment within West Midlands Ambulance Service. 3 years later, in 2018 I was promoted to a clinical team mentor role within the service. The CTM role enables me to support student paramedics, guide them through their training and ultimately help them to achieve their goal in becoming a paramedic.

I am so very proud of achieving the goals I have set for myself so far but am now looking toward the future and how I can build upon my knowledge base and offer more to the trust. My experiences through the years have now presented me with ambitions to complete a prescribing course. Once I have achieved this target I would like to look towards working within a primary care trust and expanding my skill set in a different environment." 
Gráinne O'Shea
Advanced Paramedic

I joined the National Ambulance Service in 2010 and served as a paramedic for five years and advanced paramedic for a further 6 years. During my 11 years I co-produced a free cpc online platform for pre-hospital practitioners for a period of 5 years. We brought free cpc #foamed to every level of practitioner in every corner of the country through live streamed events. I completed a MSc in Emergency Management in 2019 and my thesis subject was adopted by DCU as a COVID-19 project. The results were published open access on DCU's Doras directory during 2020 “The LISTEN report”. I have also completed a Level 9 Post Grad diploma in Health and Safety last year and have moved to a senior management role in a local acute hospital with responsibility for site Health and Safety and Emergency planning. My love of EMS was born through my training in Mountain Rescue. I miss patient care and the camaraderie of EMS crews in my new role massively. However, I had recognised I was burning out and sought to re-educate myself which enabled me to move forward. I couldn’t afford an MSc as a single mam, without the 30 percent club scholarship which I won in 2018. My one impression I would like to leave with women in EMS is to never give up on your dreams, there is always a way to make them happen. Keep educating yourself and you can achieve your goals no matter what obstacles present. Happy IWD 2022 – Breaking Bias #ThisGirlCan. 
Georgina Murphy-Jones
Macmillan Paramedic Lead, Palliative and End of Life Care

It has been incredible to witness the evolution of the paramedic profession over the past 20 years. Being one of the first cohort of UK graduate entry paramedics it felt like there was a mountain to climb in terms of gaining acceptance within a vocational and male dominated organisation. Fast forward to 2022; registration requires degree level education, our workforce is diverse and the opportunities ever expanding. We have grown at pace but alongside advancing skills and knowledge we must not forget the value of clinical experience and our non-technical qualities; listening and problem solving, bringing composure and comfort, our compassion, humour and resilience. I have a new appreciation of these attributes having taken my career along a pathway that didn’t exist 20 years ago; ambulance service palliative and end of life care.

As a Macmillan Paramedic Lead in Palliative and End of Life Care for the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, I am working to improve the care for our patients who are nearing their end of life. A variety of roles and experiences have taken me here; education, advanced clinical practice, research and service development. I was able to succeed in this senior role due to the progressive approach of my service, embracing my wish to work part-time and supporting a job share. This has allowed me to maintain career development alongside raising young children, a challenge for women around the world; it can be hard to balance both but we have opportunities absent from the ambulance service of 20 years ago. Progress indeed.  
Natalie
Student Paramedic

I first joined the Ambulance Service in 2014 as a Health Advisor for the 111 service, I then went to work for St John Ambulance for a few years as an Emergency Transport Attendant and rejoined the Ambulance Service in 2019 on the Student Paramedic programme. I’ve been qualified as a Technician for 2 years now and am finally nearing the end of my paramedic training (thanks covid!).

In the future I would be interested in moving into a palliative care role but I envisage that being a few years off as I want to become settled in my paramedic role first. I enjoy the job because I love meeting new people and helping where I can, it's so varied that even the repetitive jobs throw us curveballs! It's a cliché but no two days are ever the same and I don’t think I’d get this level of job satisfaction in any other job. This is all I’ve ever wanted to do and although I took the scenic route, I’m so glad I’m here now, doing what I love. There are so many opportunities for paramedics now, I’m excited to see what the future holds for us and what other roles may be created. 
Jo Mildenhall
Paramedic Mental Health Project Lead - College of Paramedics

I currently hold the role of Paramedic Mental Health Project Lead at the College of Paramedics (UK). Prior to this, I was Senior Lecturer of Paramedicine at the University of West of England. I am a registered paramedic with more than two decades of experience in operational and leadership roles including that of Team Leader and Clinical Lead for Mental Health. Not long after starting my operational career, I became increasingly aware of the psychological impact that frontline working has upon employees, but, at that time, little understanding of this existed. Subsequently, I developed my interest within this field and trained as a psychotherapeutic counsellor, specialising in trauma. I also embarked on an academic journey, completing undergraduate and master's degrees whilst working full time operationally. I am now in the final year of completing my social psychological doctoral research which explores the individual and collective impacts of frontline ambulance working during a pandemic disaster. By understanding how individual and collective thoughts, feelings and behaviours influence our emotional/ trauma responses, I hope that this will lead towards a greater understanding of the psychological health and wellbeing of the ambulance workforce and contribute to proactive developments and enhanced supports within this sector.

I have authored and co-authored of a number of mental wellbeing-related articles published in peer-reviewed journals and is an international conference speaker. I also sit on a number of national emergency responder mental health specialist interest groups.

In 2019, I was awarded the prestigious Churchill Fellowship which saw me travel to Australia and New Zealand to study inspirational and innovative ambulance staff psychological wellbeing initiatives and strategy. 
Rebecca Rigney
Paramedic

Hi everyone, delighted to be part of the College of Paramedics take over for International Women’s Day. It’s a phenomenally important day to recognise the impact women have on the world. 

I’m a paramedic in Ireland. I started my training in 2018 and quickly fell in love with the care of older adults. I grew up in the company of my great grandmother and my grandparents.

To date I’ve been a frontline paramedic working in the MidWest region, that is Counties Limerick, Clare North Tipperary. I have worked mainly in rural settings which I love. I have an interest in farm related trauma, I’m from a farming background so I understand the farming lifestyle. I’m enrolled in a moulage training course with Saviour Medical and the amazing ATACC this year. 

I’m exploring options to travel and work as a paramedic overseas. In the future I would love to move into a primary care role or community paramedic role. I believe paramedics have an incredible skill set to benefit the community. We are a highly adaptable group!

I have almost finished my BSc in Paramedic Studies at the University of Limerick. I haven’t ruled out pursuing further study, I think Dr Rebecca Rigney has a great ring to it. I want to see more women and more diversity in paramedic leadership. The future is bright for paramedicine and the people we serve. Mná na hÉireann.   
Freya Dale
Newly Qualified Paramedic

I started with SCAS in 2018 as a BSc student with Oxford Brookes. Unfortunately, the Covid pandemic resulted in losing months of placement and never returning to face-to-face teaching. Despite this, I graduated with a first-class honours, starting as an NQP in Milton Keynes in August 2021.

Prior to joining the ambulance service I worked in the legal sector, doing insurance claims handling and PA work. I volunteered within a breakfast kitchen for homeless, socially isolated and vulnerable adults, giving me an excellent grounding for empathising and communicating with those patients whom professionally we interact with regularly. I also volunteered at a hospice, igniting my interest in person centered palliative and EOL care, resulting in me writing my dissertation on this topic.

Every workplace has its downfalls, which the ambulance service is not exempt from. However, what I love about the job is the privilege of being present in the most pivotal moments in people’s lives, the multifaceted nature of the job and how there is always more to learn. Starting at this time is a privilege as the profession is advancing, developing, becoming more autonomous and diverse with opportunities to use our skills in a range of settings. Going forward, I need to gain experience, complete my NQP portfolio and in the future education would be an area I would love to pursue, empowering and educating students.

I look forward to seeing the profession grow and develop in the coming years and meeting more amazing strong female Paramedics. 
Lucy Anderson
Paramedic/SPP

I’m a paramedic for SECAmb. I qualified in 2017 having studied for BSc Paramedic Practice at the University of Brighton. I was one of the first cohorts of Newly Qualified Paramedics to go through the portfolio process. After completing this I worked as a dual role clinician in the Emergency Operations Centre and on frontline ambulances for just over a year. This enabled me to see how both sides of the service work and the full patient journey.

I have published an article in the Journal of Paramedic Practice and was fortunate to present this at the 2018 College of Paramedics National Research Conference.

I am now studying part-time for a Masters in Advanced Clinical Practice to become a specialist paramedic in urgent and emergency care. I am enjoying being back in structured learning and being able to implement what I learn almost immediately in to practice. Seeing the positive impact the additional knowledge and skills I am gaining is having on patients is really exciting and rewarding.

I love the unpredictable nature of the job and meeting patients in their environments. The variety of places, people and presentations we see is daunting at times but always interesting and sometimes you have to think on your feet! As the paramedic profession continues to develop it is exciting to see the variety roles and settings we can work in and I’m looking forward to being part of this and seeing where the job takes me. 
Sharon Seddon
Senior Lecturer - University of Cumbria

Joining Cumbria Ambulance Service in 1995 I exchanged the shipyard and an Electrical Engineering career for the newly introduced Trainee Paramedic role. I look back with fond memories of Barrow-in-Furness Ambulance Station, where there was encouragement to develop and immense support, in stark contrast to the mess room politics my peers faced as the new role signalled the end of internal progression. Following IHCD basic training at Ladybridge Hall, Bolton, my paramedic qualification was passed 2 years later in Carlisle.

A transfer to Kendal station where I remain working part-time was swiftly followed by completion of my BSc (Hons) Emergency Care Practitioner (ECP) pioneered by St. Martin’s College (now the University of Cumbria), a programme which laid the foundations for the ACP programmes available today.

Working solo as an ECP I attended a range of calls including the less acute, launched new pathways and gained further skills from staff at the Minor Injury Department where I was based. An innovative role in 2004 it led to my Senior Lecturing role. Here, having validated numerous programmes over the past 17 years, including the Defence Medical Services Combat Medical Technician to Paramedic, I remain passionate about clinical practice and education and focussed my research on paramedic personal tutoring for my MA Education Professional Practice. I appreciate the clinical experiences, the friends made, and the positions afforded me over the past 27 years, and I trust women to reach their potential by grasping any opportunities through the exciting roles and education available today and in the future.  
Amy Cook
Emergency Care Assistant

I have worked for the ambulance service since September 2008. It’s a job I take great pride in. It’s a privilege to put the uniform on and help people during their hour of need. I also work for Self Injury Support (SIS), a national charity run by women, for women. The aim of SIS is to relieve sickness and promote the health of women who self injure, and are emotionally distressed, by offering support to such women and their families. I truly believe that when women support each other incredible things happen. 

Sadly, there is still a huge amount of inequality in the workplace. Historically the ambulance service has been a male dominated role. That is slowly changing, but there are still improvements to be made. Many of those in management positions are male and I hope that by shining a light on the many inspirational and supportive stories of women this will empower us to reach our full potential. 

IWD is not just about individuals, it’s about women everywhere. 
Emily Holland
Clinical Lecturer, Paramedic Degree Apprenticeship Programme – University of Cumbria

Coming from a background of hospitality and retail, I knew I always wanted to enter either teaching or healthcare as a career. After some indecisiveness over medicine or nursing, I found the sweet spot with paramedicine, and completed my Bachelor of Paramedic Practice at the University of Tasmania in 2015. I was excited by the prospect of the London Ambulance Service after a recruitment drive at our university and I soon found myself in London with little idea of what the NHS was or where I was going to live.

For the past four years I’ve learned a huge amount working out of Deptford Ambulance Station in South-East London. In 2021 I started a secondment with University of Cumbria, working as a Clinical Lecturer on the Paramedic Degree Apprenticeship Programme. This involves the delivery of both online and face to face clinical education, student welfare, and academic support. Alongside this I undertake regular clinical shifts. The team is incredibly supportive, with an understanding of the stark difference between the academic world and ambulance world. As new teachers, we are also able to undertake a PgCert in Higher Education to support us with our development as academics.

It has been an incredible opportunity for career development, as this is not where I would have imagined myself at graduation. It is also immensely rewarding being a part of an accessible and supportive programme for higher education, that is actively allowing a more diverse workforce to move through the profession. 
Nagina Zaroof
Newly Qualified Paramedic

Being a newly qualified paramedic for just over six months, I am quite proud of what I have accomplished. My four-year path to become a paramedic has not been simple, and there have been many obstacles along the way.  I've been a member of the College since I was a student and now, as a registered Paramedic I am also a member of the REaCH strand group, which is a part of the College of Paramedics Diversity and Steering Group. This has provided me a platform to voice my concerns and influence the future of paramedicine. Seeing the cultural diversity at work reminds me that there is still much to be done—diversity is essential for any organisation to be successful on a global scale—and my new role as a paramedic will allow me to focus on supporting future candidates in this field while maintaining the core value of patient care. 
Emily Dunn
Paramedic with West Midlands Ambulance Service

For the last 3 years I have proudly held the position of registered Paramedic with West Midlands Ambulance Service. Life as a human being is full of highs and lows. As a paramedic these highs and lows are lived in full HD. I have felt the rush of helping bring a new life into the world then seconds later I am fighting to stop it's mother leaving it, revived a man who was clinically dead for a time and swiftly separated a couple on their diamond wedding anniversary knowing they were unlikely to ever see each other again. These "technicolour" jobs are what we train for. But I personally live for the more mundane aspects. The crew mate banter, rolling a cigarette for someone in a mental health crisis to gain their trust, cups of tea in care homes, helping the elderly off the floor and back in bed uninjured and comfy, being a safe person to disclose things to, referring people in the clutches of drugs to places for help... I find these are the jobs where the ripples of my actions will continue on and I can feel proud that I have positively impacted someone's day, and God willing, will keep me turning up to work with the service until I retire. 
Natalie Hartley
Paramedic and Clinical Skills Tutor

I joined EEAST in 2002 after completing a music degree and working at a children’s hospice and the National Blood Service. I completed the tech training and six years, and two children later, passed the IHCD Paramedic training. During my time as a clinician with EEAST, I have worked at football matches, on frontline vehicles, high dependency units and also worked for a short period of time in ECAT during the pandemic. I have also worked in a GP surgery in London for 9 months.

I joined Anglia Ruskin University 6 years ago and have continued to work there alongside other clinical roles. Whilst at ARU, I have written and delivered a level 5 module in Impaired Consciousness and Mental Health and initiated a paramedic focussed wellbeing programme which includes fortnightly Walk Talk Walk sessions and specific sessions on how students can try to improve and manage their physical and mental health with lifestyle. This has allowed me to utilise my qualifications of being a personal trainer and qualified nutritionist, alongside my paramedic career.

I continue to study and am currently completing an MSc in Nutritional Medicine at the University of Surrey. When I started in this career, I had no idea of the many pathways available. I didn’t see myself as having a 20 year career in the same field and it doesn’t feel like it has been the same field because there have been so many opportunities to use the skill set in different ways. 
Kim Bussey-Chamberlain
Paramedic Clinical Supervisor with South East Coast Ambulance Service

I joined the profession in 2015 as a student paramedic at St George’s University of London. I left with a degree, a registration and an amazing bunch of friends. I joined London Ambulance Service, having done my student years with them out of Waterloo. I loved the fast pace and diverse community we were able to serve working in the capital city. I also did a six month secondment in EOC working on the HCP lines.

Later, I joined the teaching team at St George’s as a lecturer delivering clinical training and skills to student paramedics. I collaborated with Kingston University’s forensic science department to run joint crime scene simulations in the forensics house. I took extended maternity leave to have my two children, now 1 and 3, who have been far more exhausting than shift work!

I created a new podcast with Pure Creation Media, Beneath The Blue Lights: the paramedic podcast, featuring conversations with various frontline emergency services and NHS workers. The podcast aims to give the public insight into what our jobs are really like and to encourage a different kind of conversation around the topics we want to discuss and our mental health.

I’m now a paramedic clinical supervisor with South East Coast Ambulance Service based in EOC. I’m not sure what the future holds for me but I’m a big fan of the rise of portfolio careers. Ultimately, I’d like to balance my creative work with my clinical work. 
Steph Meech
Specialist Paramedic in Urgent and Emergency Care

I am a Specialist Paramedic in Urgent and Emergency Care for the South East Coast Ambulance Service. I am now in my 20th year working as a frontline paramedic. When I started all those years ago things were very different for me, at that time there were no trans women visible in the ambulance service and fearful for my job, Steph was hidden from the world. I started out in the service as a Trainee Ambulance Technician working my way up through the clinical ranks from paramedic to Specialist Paramedic in Emergency and Urgent Care. I finally came out to the service as my true self around 7 years ago and have never looked back.

Now being able to work as my true self I have worked to increase the visibility and voice of all trans people within the service. I have worked as deputy chair of our LGBT+ network and a member of the National Ambulance LGBT Network. I was voted in as the national trans experience lead and I am proud of the work that has been produced so far in supporting trans staff and service users.

I like to think that I have trailblazed a path through what was seen as a mainly male dominated service. I am one of the first openly trans women to serve frontline in the ambulance service, and I hope my story encourages more trans women to join up and have a successful career, and may we see a trans woman CEO? I truly hope so. 
Gemma Richmond
Yorkshire Air Ambulance HEMS Paramedic

When I joined the Yorkshire Ambulance service 20 years ago I was a 19 year old fresh faced Emergency Medical Technician. I would have never believed I would end up working on the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, delivering care to the most critically injured patients in the region as a HEMS paramedic.

I am proud to have worked alongside amazing colleagues over the years. They taught me how to provide the highest standard of care in the most difficult of situations.

My journey in the Yorkshire Ambulance service has presented me with some amazing opportunities. I think one of the highlights was providing emergency medical cover in the Olympic sports venues during the London 2012 Olympics when I was sent to provide mutual aid from Yorkshire to the London Ambulance Service.

My 20 years in pre-hospital care has at times been stressful and heart-breaking, but I am excited to see where pre-hospital care will lead me in the future. 
Nicola Hunt
Paramedic, Clinical Team Manager and Chair of the LAS Women's network 

I started with the London Ambulance Service (LAS) as an Emergency Medical Technician 2 (EMT) in 2005. I progressed to an EMT4 and in 2014 I completed my IHCD paramedic qualification. I worked as a paramedic until 2019 when I enrolled onto the BSC Developing paramedic practice with Cumbria University and started as a trainee clinical tutor. I completed my degree and gained a postgraduate in Medical and Healthcare Education. In 2020 I started a yearlong apprenticeship with the HCPC as part of their executive board. I am currently a Clinical Team Manager based on Edmonton Complex.

Alongside this role I am the Chair of the LAS Women’s network striving to support women and those who identify as women to progress in their careers in the ambulance service. I am passionate about equality and diversity in the ambulance service and the key role that intersectionality plays in representing the demographic of patients we attend. Outside of my working life I am the proud mum of 2 children Keelan and Elise and we enjoy learning sign language, watching Netflix and having movie nights in my bed with lots of popcorn. As my parents did not have a formal education or attend university, I have faced barriers to my career development with my ADHD and dyslexia, not knowing what I don’t know and how to move forward. With the right support this has changed, and the sky is the limit for me.  
Sarah Miles
Senior Lecturer University of Cumbria Paramedic Apprenticeships

As a child I had one goal in life, to become a professional figure skater. However, I rapidly discovered that with terrible balance, and a strong dislike for the cold, this was perhaps misjudged. So, with my first career ambition abruptly dismissed I spent my formative years not having a career plan at all, but I did tell myself that after years of donning my less than ‘fashionable’ school uniform, I would never wear green again!

At the age of 18, and still no firm career plan, I saw an advert for the role of ‘Emergency Medical Technician’. Without having a full appreciation of what this meant or entailed I decided to apply, and before I knew it, I was dressed head to toe in green and attending a clinical training course.

I rapidly fell in love with the role and progressed to the level of Paramedic. Years later I moved into the field of Paramedic education, where I believe I have found my real passion, helping others to develop as prehospital clinicians, and most importantly I don’t have to wear green. Although my two children regularly make it clear that ‘Mummy is cooler when she wears her green ambulance costume’.

I feel privileged to have been afforded the opportunity to progress my career with support and guidance from those who came before me, and hope that these development opportunities only grow for women in the future, when perhaps I offer the same support and guidance that I have been so grateful for. 
Becky Crabb
Paramedic - South Western Ambulance Service

I’m a Paramedic working in Gloucestershire for South Western Ambulance Service. I graduated from The University of West of England, Bristol, in 2018 with a BSc Honours Degree and I am currently working towards my Masters. I am passionate about education and professional development. I have the privilege of being a practice placement educator. I am currently a mentor to a third-year student paramedic and regularly support the development of my local community first response volunteers.

I always jump at new opportunities to develop my career. Most recently I took an opportunity to work on the Clinical Support Desk and took on the exciting new challenge of remote clinical triage.

Being a paramedic has given me a greater understanding of the people and the variety of circumstances that affect people every single day. In a lot of cases, patients and families trust and depend on you completely. It’s a big responsibility. I love using my skills and knowledge daily to make a difference to people’s lives. Being able to help others, in their moment of need, is an experience like no other. From day to day, I meet truly incredible people.

Male or female, there should be no limits to what can be achieved, collectively we can all break the bias. 
Lucy Allan
Paramedic and Clinical Lecturer - University of Cumbria

I have been a paramedic since September 2018, after completion of the first BSc Paramedic science course out of the University of Northampton. I worked frontline as a paramedic, before quite recently moving to a role in education, with the University of Cumbria. I have always felt very lucky to be a part of so many people’s lives and experiences with the ambulance service. I loved working with my colleagues, providing care for patients and in this new role I hope to assist students to become great clinicians and continue the excellent patient care I know can be provided. I am still fairly new to this career, and I am excited about my future, learning from the experiences and path set out for me by the amazing women in paramedicine. 
Janey Collins
Admissions Lead & Senior Lecturer - University of the West of England

Before joining the ambulance service, I worked in television production both in the UK and overseas, however I had grown increasingly disenchanted with the superficial side of the industry and wanted a career which was more meaningful and rewarding. In 2002, I left TV and began my Technician training with Avon Ambulance service which later became GWAS and then SWAST. Through the years, I have worked in a variety of roles including Paramedic Mentor on the ‘Technician to Paramedic conversion’ programme and supporting BSc students on practice placements. Passionate about patient centred care, I found mentoring students extremely rewarding. After time as a Clinical Team Leader at Nailsea Station, North Somerset, I knew that my heart lay in education and training, so worked as a Learning Development Officer and Driving Assessor within Bristol and surrounding areas. Through the role, I witnessed first-hand the kindness, care and compassion that my SWAST colleagues gave to their patients. I joined the University of the West of England in 2015 as a Senior Paramedic Lecturer and Module Leader on the BSc Paramedic Science programme. Seven years on, I work as Admission Lead for the programme. I particularly enjoy witnessing the students’ academic journey from initial selection for our programme, through their years of study to their final graduation. When I think back to my basic training, I was told ‘there’s no better job in the world than to be a paramedic’. 20 years on I still believe that to be true. 
Caroline Pike
Paramedic

I can’t say there a was a lightbulb moment that made me decide that I wanted to be a Paramedic. I’ve always known that I’m a people person. My husband would say I’m bossy; I disagree, I like to be organised. As a mother of 5 young children; triplets and twins, I knew I had it in me to problem solve, deal with physical and emotional wounds, and to rise to a challenge. In the past when writing a CV, I would always write, I like working in a team, but I am comfortable on my own. Being a Paramedic encompasses both skills. You could be a part of a multidisciplinary team scene in one moment, and in the next minute, totally on your own offering kind words to a palliative care patient and their family. It’s extremely diverse. This job changes you; seeing other people’s pain and fear, not always knowing the answers to the question, and some days really are an emotional roller-coaster. In four years , I passed an access course whilst gaining my maths GCSE (aged 36), and then completed a university course in Paramedic Science. Amid my degree, I then had to get my head around home school for my five children when Covid-19 closed the schools. That was fun! I qualified as a Paramedic aged 40. “How do you do it?”, I’m constantly asked, and honestly, I don’t know. I know that I am motivated, passionate about change and if someone tells me I can’t do something it’s like a red rag to a bull. I want my story to encourage stay at home parents, to go for it, sign up to a course, believe you can and break the mould. 
Samantha Canning
Clinical Lecturer (LAS) Paramedic Apprenticeships

Growing up in Yarrawonga, Australia, I knew I wanted to work in healthcare. I would never have believed my career choice would take me to the other side of the world. When I finished school, I moved to Melbourne to study a dual degree of Nursing and Emergency Health. After four years of study, I completed my nursing graduate year working in an Emergency Department and a surgical ward. At this point, the London Ambulance Service began recruitment in Australia. I certainly had my doubts about leaving behind a female dominated healthcare sector to move across the world and live somewhere I had never been before, but the opportunity was too great. I left my home and my comfort zone behind and moved to London in 2015 thinking I’d only be here for two years. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with my life in the UK and the incredible Paramedic profession. After five years of working on an Ambulance, and having enjoyed mentoring students, I decided to move into education with a secondment to the University of Cumbria as a Clinical Lecturer. I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching and am incredibly grateful for the opportunities this career has given me. I hope that more women make the move into this profession and take advantage of the different career prospects and learning opportunities that being a Paramedic can offer. 
Nicola Godley
Paramedic & Clinical Lecturer - University of Cumbria

Throughout my teenage years I always somehow ended up with part-time jobs within the gardening industry, working within garden centres and plant nurseries. This led me to my initial university studies at Myerscough College in partnership with UCLAN, where I was awarded a BSc (Hons) Horticultural degree.

Working within healthcare never crossed my mind until the age of twenty-one when I applied for ‘Student Paramedic’ due to a lack of interest in my role at the time. I needed a career, with many aspirations and to do something ‘different’. My family were dubious as I usually fainted when I saw blood or hurt myself! How wrong they were, I enjoyed the different way of life, the camaraderie of the employees, the ‘family’ feel to the job and the underlying aspect that providing care to those in need provided a sense of worth and accomplishment.

I enrolled onto one of the first ‘Emergency Medical Technician 1’ courses and ten years later I was accepted onto the first ‘technician-to-paramedic’ course at UCLAN. After being awarded a Dip HE Paramedic Practice and fast-tracking through the newly qualified paramedic period, I continued my studies by enrolling onto MSc Advanced Practice: Paramedic development degree with the University of Cumbria, which I am about to complete this July.

My current role is a secondment Clinical Lecturer with the University of Cumbria Apprenticeship programme. Every day is a learning day, but I thoroughly enjoy the contact with the apprentice learners and being present for their journey throughout their degree.

I have high aspirations and career goals and continue to strive towards those goals through perseverance and self-determination. I encourage all women to strive towards whichever career they wish to forge for their own journeys. 
Helen Carter
Associate Lecturer - University of Cumbria

I studied at Oxford Brookes University and have been a paramedic since 2015. After qualifying I was lucky to be able to spend six weeks volunteering with two Mexican ambulance services and a busy A&E department. There was a stark contrast with the UK as you might imagine but it was an incredible, humbling experience.

On returning home I began working for South Central Ambulance Service, I have stayed at Newbury station every since which I think says it all. I still enjoy working frontline and although Newbury is no longer my closest station I can’t imagine leaving. Having said that I have watched dozens of colleagues move through the ranks and follow all sorts of other careers which are now available to paramedics.

Since having my daughter, Freya, in 2018 I have moved to part time hours and began working with Oxford Brookes University and more recently Cumbria University as an associate lecturer, this has been a great opportunity and keeps me on my toes.

I feel very fortunate to be able to have my family life and a fun, challenging career which I still love. Working in Mexico and travelling prior to my studies has highlighted how fortunate I am, as a woman, to be able to do this. My hope for my daughter and other girls around the world is that’s they are empowered to be able to set their mind to any goal. 
Charlotte Humfrey
Paramedic & Clinical Lecturer - University of Cumbria

As soon as I started my degree in Paramedic Science, I fell in love with the profession. It was the first time in my life I felt I ‘fit in’ and had found something I was motivated and passionate about… which as a person with ADHD is hard to come by!

Since qualifying, much of my time throughout the pandemic was spent working crewed with the fire brigade and police. This level of autonomy so early in my career improved my confidence and capabilities as a medic tenfold.

My experience on the road has highlighted many public misconceptions about women in the ambulance service. So frequently I would turn up to a job as the attendee, and the more senior crew member, to have all the questions directed at my male counterpart. Or, the countless times I was asked whether there was a ‘strong man’ available to come and lift their relative. 

As a previously male dominated profession, I see so few women in senior positions- which makes me even more determined to be successful. My goal is to become a Critical Care Advanced Paramedic Practitioner. I saw the Clinical lecturer role at Cumbria University as an opportunity to further my knowledge in preparation for that. I have now been a lecturer there for nearly 5 months. I thoroughly enjoy teaching and can see how much this is consolidating my learning as a practitioner. I am excited for my future as the paramedic profession continues to evolve. 
Claire Tinker
Paramedic & Senior Lecturer - University of Cumbria

I joined London Ambulance Service in 1996 as an EMT - it was a leap of faith leaving the safe but boring office job in civil engineering – my colleagues were both horrified and in awe, but I felt it was something I had to do. During those first ten years in Central London, I got my paramedic qualification and completed secondments as a Duty Officer.

In 2002 I became the first female paramedic on the UK’s first Cycle Response Unit, then, in 2004 moved onto London’s Air Ambulance as a flight paramedic for a couple of years.

In 2007 I needed a change so moved into the LAS Education Department and studied for my PGCert. This was a more varied role than I anticipated, teaching on IHCD paramedic courses, the Student Paramedic Programme and then as a Clinical Tutor based in operations. After 25 years with the NHS and being inspired after completing my MSc in Advanced Practice I moved to the University of Cumbria as Programme Lead for the Paramedic Degree Apprenticeship.

I have loved the variety throughout my career and have seen the Ambulance Service change dramatically in that time – especially the growth in the role of women. 
Paula Newham
Paramedic SECAMB

I joined South East Coast Ambulance Service in 2015 as an emergency care support worker, shortly after my Nana passed away. Inspired by this wonderful woman who had always been my role model, I decided that my 30s were going to be a fresh start with a 5-year plan culminating in qualification as a paramedic.

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a paramedic, and I really enjoyed being on the road as an ECSW. After I’d gained a few years’ experience, I was able to apply via my trust to become an in-service student paramedic at St George’s.

If you’d have told me that I would qualify at the start of a global pandemic, I wouldn’t have believed it – but I am very proud to say that I graduated from St George’s in 2020.

After almost two years post qualification, I still enjoy the challenges that we face as frontline ambulance staff; every day is different and I’m still learning and growing as a clinician. My passions are ECGs and cardiology, falls prevention and hospital avoidance.

Who knows where this journey into paramedicine will take me? There are so many options available outside of ambulance services now. I am interested in Forensic Paramedicine with the Police, an ACP course or perhaps even a Masters in cardiology, but for now you’ll find me mostly in green, whizzing around Sussex in a yellow box with blue lights.

The paramedic world is my oyster.  
Emily Snow
Paramedic & Wellbeing Ambassador

I began my career as paramedic after graduating from the University of East Anglia in 2019. I have since worked for the East of England Ambulance Service as a frontline Paramedic working on an ambulance and fast response vehicle. I had the opportunity to do a development secondment as a Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officer learning management skills, I am a volunteer wellbeing ambassador for trust staff and I am a practice educator for both university and trust students.

I have worked for six months in the Emergency Clinical Advice and Triage Team and I am now a qualified specialist clinician in hear and treat. I have also worked for the University of East Anglia as an associate tutor teaching practical skills and facilitating simulation for BSc paramedic science students.

I have varied interests and would like to develop in each of the four pillars of practice. I am currently looking into the Advanced Clinical Practitioner role and I have an interest in geographically remote working.

I love the diverse nature of my work and I am excited by the growing range of opportunities available to me. I enjoy helping others develop, reach their potential, and find the joy in our unique role. I hope as my knowledge and skills progress I can always find time to 'ambulance'; it's the unpredictable nature of my work and the time I can spend with my patients that makes me truly happy.  
Ellie Lucas
Paramedic

I joined the Ambulance service as a Student Paramedic in 2018 with South Central Ambulance Service and qualified as a Paramedic in May last year. During the Covid pandemic, I was also given the opportunity to work as a Bank Emergency Care Assistant prior to qualification to help with the extra demand our services were facing.

Six months into my NQP period and I’m working for South Western Ambulance Service based in Somerset. My interests are pharmacology, critical care, and human factors. Despite just starting my career, I would like to complete further study with the aim of enhancing my clinical practice at some point in the future.

I like working with a range of different people and enjoy challenging and complex scenarios that require on-the-ball thinking in a variety of environments. That being said, who doesn’t love helping a nan-down?

It’s a privilege to work alongside many fantastic women in pre-hospital care and other avenues that the Paramedic profession is continuing to expand into. I have been lucky enough to have a number of role models within my time in the ambulance service – from mentors, women in clinical leadership roles as well as working alongside specialist practitioners and educators. Hopefully our future profession will include more of these!

Happy International Women’s Day! 
Caitlin Fitzgibbon
Critical Care Nurse, Paramedic & Lecturer in Paramedicine

I’m a critical care registered nurse and paramedic and my clinical background has spanned across emergency departments and ambulance services, both nationally and internationally over the past 10 years.

I was working as a clinical nurse specialist in emergency until 2016, when I had the opportunity to move to the UK to work for the London Ambulance Service as a paramedic. Here, I worked on both ambulances and fast response units and experienced a really different model of care than we have here in Australia. Having so many referral options to keep people out of crowded hospitals, I realised I had a strong interest in improving patient centred care in the out of hospital environment.

In 2020, I commenced my PhD, exploring the experiences of dual qualified nurse paramedics within ambulance services. Passionate about finding solutions to the overwhelmed healthcare system, I believe this topic is more important than ever, especially as the paramedic profession evolves into the primary care arena. I’m currently a lecturer in paramedicine at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, and remain clinical with Ambulance Victoria.

Alongside my PhD, I’m involved in research exploring the ‘queerspace’ curricula vacuum that exists within paramedicine. A strong advocate for diversity and inclusion within paramedicine programs, and within the profession more broadly, I hope this research will improve the university experience for students and have a positive impact on health outcomes for the LGBTQI+ community.

You can follow me on Twitter @Caitlin_Fitz_

Happy International Women’s Day!  
Joanne Markeson
Paramedic & Senior Lecturer in Paramedic Science

I have always aspired to become a Paramedic and achieved this after studying Paramedic Science at the University of the West of England, then beginning my career in the South Western Ambulance Service. This was my main role for 5 years and I especially valued mentoring new staff, students and preceptees. Inspired by my ECP mentors I then completed the Emergency Practitioner course, enjoying working in an Urgent Care Centre setting and practising a new range of skills alongside my ambulance shifts.

Having been a paramedic for five years, my move into education was prompted when I was recommended to apply for a teaching position at UWE in 2018. As a Senior Lecturer in Paramedic Science, I now teach aspiring paramedics and appreciate the opportunity to help the students to build their knowledge, confidence and autonomy. I have introduced new teaching styles and learning environments, including problem based learning, collaborations with other professions such as the midwifery teams and the fire service, and even co-creating our innovative clinical escape room!

As the Placement Lead for non-ambulance placements I also develop and organise placements designed to further student experience and deepen knowledge of specialist areas and patient care pathways. This is an area I’m passionate to progress even further. It has been incredible to see the paramedic role vastly transform over the last decade, and I’m enthused to continue to be part of the ever developing role as it enhances all the more. 
Gemma Boden
Programme Leader of Paramedic Science - University of Greenwich

I’ve been a registered Paramedic since 2008. I actually completed my degree in Mathematics in Belfast and was working in accounts when I decided I wanted to do something which would impact lives, so I applied to join London Ambulance Service.  I started in 2004 and enjoyed a 12-year career, which mostly involved working on the solo response unit, leading to becoming an Operational Team Leader at Wimbledon and a stint in the Clinical Hub at London HQ.

I loved medical mysteries, ecgs and clinical diagnostics, but didn’t get on well with night shifts or my back injury!  This led me to leave LAS in 2016 for a job at the Paramedic Science department at University of Greenwich.

I’ve had many opportunities and developed my academic qualities to become a Senior Lecturer – even undertaking research and publishing.  My current role is the Programme Leader of BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science at University of Greenwich, where I oversee both our degree programmes.

The most important part of my work is to inject passion, clinical excellence and confidence in our students.  I am interested in inclusivity and want to promote everybody who has the passion and ability to become the best Paramedic, regardless of background or beliefs.  I want to touch, move and inspire those who decide to give their lives to the care of others. 
Sara Harris
Community Specialist Paramedic

I started working for Greater Manchester Ambulance Service in 2003, now North West Ambulance Service and trained as a IHCD ambulance technician, and in 2006 became a paramedic.

In 2014 I became the chain of survival coordinator, a British Heart Foundation funded post which focused on improving the chain of survival. The role involved working with communities and promoting CPR and improved access to public access defibrillators.

My proudest moment was when I spoke at a parliamentary event with Andy Burnham talking about the importance of CPR and defibs.

In 2019 I became a community specialist paramedic for the Trafford area of Greater Manchester. The role is varied and involves responding to emergencies with a view to clinically assessing patients in their home and safely referring them to more appropriate services rather than the emergency department. During the pandemic I worked at the Nightingale Hospital for a period of time which was a positive experience of health care professional working together.

The role has also given me the opportunity to support the implementation of pathways for patients that require support within their own home and social prescribing, present in schools, community groups about the ambulance service and promote the varied roles now available to paramedics.

I have just completed my masters in advanced clinical practice and this has developed my interest in the care of the older adult, frailty, falls and delirium. I love working with older adults, their age, conditions and history make each incident so interesting, taking a more holistic approach to patient care is such a satisfying part of job. The role of the paramedic is rapidly expanding and it’s exciting times. 
Cassie Morgan
Leadership and Paramedic Improvement Fellow with Health Education England

I qualified from Sheffield Hallam University in 2012 and have used my paramedic registration in various jobs since then.

The unpredictability and having the opportunity to help people are what initially attracted me to the profession. I spent my first few years working as a paramedic and seconded clinical team mentor in South East Coast Ambulance Service.

In 2016 I moved to East Midlands Ambulance Service initially as a paramedic, I then spent approximately 3 years working as a clinical support manager which sparked my interest in education.

After undertaking a short secondment as a Tutor/Practitioner I was fortunate enough to be offered the position of Clinical Education Development Specialist, managing education of Ambulance staff across two divisions. During this time, I was approached by one of my colleagues and asked to join the team of Specialist Practitioners alongside my education role.

In September 2021, I applied for the position of Leadership and Paramedic Improvement Fellow with Health Education England. I currently undertake this role on secondment from East Midlands Ambulance Service and enjoy being part of the Midlands AHP leadership team. I am glad to also still have the opportunity to work clinically as a paramedic/specialist practitioner.  
Becci England
Trainee Critical Care Paramedic - Midlands Air Ambulance Charity

Coming from a medical family, a career within healthcare wasn’t something that I always wanted to pursue. However, after some gentle persuasion from mum and working in a hospital I realised that I was fascinated by medicine and overall really enjoyed helping patients and contributing to patient care.

After completing my studies I joined West Midlands Ambulance Service as a paramedic in 2014. Since then, I have worked from different ambulance stations, assisted in community teaching, fundraising and helped mentor university students.

In 2019 I gained my dream job as a Trainee Critical Care Paramedic for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity. Working for MAAC has given me many opportunities and I am proud to work within such a dedicated and enthusiastic team. Last year I completed my HEMS technical crew member qualification and now work on both the critical care car and helicopter platforms. My job is both rewarding and challenging but most of all I enjoy being able to provide the best possible care to patients and their families.

When not at work I like to travel, play netball and spend time with family and friends.