How I Went From Struggling With An Elastoplast To Saving Lives

How I Went From Struggling With An Elastoplast To Saving Lives

As mentioned in a previous post, I thought I’d blog a little about my role as a Community First Responder.

New recruits at Wakefield NHS Training Facility

I genuinely had never thought about getting involved in anything medical-based until I went on a First Aid At Work course via my previous employer in late 2018.

During the 3 day course, we learnt many things from the correct application of bandages through to CPR the use of defibrillators. Some weeks after this took place I was musing over the fact that it’s a shame to have these skills and not put them into practice.

I eventually changed my day job and, in my new role, had the luxury of an extra day off every week. That’s when I came across an advert from Yorkshire Ambulance Service looking for new recruits to volunteer as a Community First Responder. I decided to take the plunge and apply.

Having completed the interviews and assessments, I was offered a place on a training course in August 2019. It was quite daunting stepping into something I felt totally under-qualified for but I had a great instructor and helpful colleagues.

My final assessment coincided with my final exams in my new day job so it was a rather stressful time trying to fit in the amount of study needed for both jobs.. but, happily, I sailed through both.

So, here I was, a qualified First Responder ready to go to incidents on my own and, to be honest, I was a little bit terrified. People were quite literally putting their well-being in my hands and that’s quite intimidating!

The role was initially created to provide qualified personnel and defibrillators at the heart of the community to respond to patients suffering from a heart attack. As the role has developed, we now attend a myriad of incidents including cardiac events, respiratory complications, fits, convulsions, strokes and many more.

It’s a challenging role and no two incidents are the same. I’ve learned so much in the last couple of years, both technical and non-technical, such as rapid situational assessment and decision making under pressure.

Additionally, I’ve been honoured to work with so many awesome ambulance crews who treat the public with amazing care and compassion… they’re genuine heroes!

The question I get asked most is “do you enjoy it?” and, to be honest, I’m not sure that I do. That may sound strange but it’s not great when every new person you meet is having a horrible time in their life. You literally don’t know what you’re getting called to next and sometimes, despite every effort, you simply can’t make a difference.

That said, I’m incredibly proud to do what I do and grateful for the opportunity to make a difference when I can. It’s incredibly rewarding and if recommend it to anyone who feels inclined.

Should you want to know a bit more, check out this link.

Apologies for quite a serious blog today… normal random nonsense will resume imminently.

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