College Area: Independent
What has been your career pathway that has led you to this role:
Shortly after joining the army I came across a RTC where a biker had come off his machine. He wasn’t breathing so I removed his helmet did a jaw thrust manoeuvre and he started to breath. At this point I realised I wanted to be a paramedic. After completing 14 years in the army and a spell as a contractor in Iraq I decided to come back to the UK and work for the NHS. I worked for two private ambulance services before I joined the Great Western Ambulance Service, which ultimately merged with the South Western Ambulance Service. I enjoyed my time in the NHS but the rota didn’t suite my work life balance so I went back to Iraq on a contract.
What do you like most about your role:
Working in Iraq I get to meet people with amazing and interesting stories and the medical system is different in so many ways. I teach quite a lot, and enjoy hearing about home remedies for various wounds and accidents. The pace of life is slower here, and everyone loves a cup of tea.
What do you like least about your role:
Being away from my friends and family, missing weekend BBQs. The weather is unforgiving, with the temperature reaching 55C in the summer for weeks at a time.
What skills do you think are important to your role? IT skills, as communication back to my family is extremely important. Most of the time I am the only qualified medical person for 50 miles, so remaining calm under pressure is a must. Flexibility, in all approaches - sometimes a sandstorm will hit the airport, and this can cause you to be 2 or 3 days late in getting home.
What are the biggest challenges facing paramedics today:
The UK paramedic is currently experiencing a massively changing landscape, keeping up with the latest treatment regimes, CPD and more job opportunities. We have, in such a small amount of time come from being ‘ambulance drivers’ with 12 weeks of paramedic training to degree level and further, clinical advisers with 111, working in urgent care centres, custody suites, with sub specialities opening up all the time.
What is your one most important benefit of being a member of the College and why:
The College is changing the way our profession is not only viewed but interacted with. Being a member gives me the opportunity to be part of that change. I don’t want any other profession steering my profession and I want paramedics driving the paramedic profession forward.
How would you like to see the College develop over the next five years?
I think online CPD. Whilst there is a very important place for face to face CPD, I think there has to be an e-learning/CPD component. I like the Irish system that PHECC uses with videos, tutorials and quizzes to cement learning. I also think we underuse social media and eforums as an organisation which could be used to discuss issues and canvass opinions etc.