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“My 5 best memories of working on the front line…”

Working as part of the East of England Ambulance Service, my days fluctuated and no day was ever the same, or should I say ‘no job’ was ever the same. Its not all blue lights and sirens, a lot of people have this perception of Paramedics and Technicians blue lighting to a huge trauma event, when sometimes it could be to help get that poor lady off the floor who’s been there all night, or assisting the police when some one is having a mental health crisis. Nothing can really prepare you for what you see, it never gets easier calling time in a cardiac arrest and seeing that hurt behind the family members eyes and it never gets any easier missing all those family events when you are out assisting the public on Christmas day, Birthdays and special events. But what does get easier is remembering why the job makes it all worth while and these are my 5 best memories from being on the frontline…..

1) My first day – My first day having passed my induction and being out on the truck, has to be my first best memory. I remember when that first ever job came through on my radio, my heart was racing, I got into the driver’s side of the cab, put on my seat belt, started up the truck, the electric doors raised up, I edged out on to the main road, hit that button which alerted ‘999 activated’ and then came the thrill of putting my foot down on that accelerator.

2) Bringing life into this world – Without a shadow of a doubt bringing life into the world, it is so easy to think sometimes this job is all about seeing life taken away, so it is a real breath of fresh air seeing a little one come into the world safely. My first delivery was a teenage girl having her first baby, and on arrival baby was imminent whilst the midwife was stuck in traffic. She made it look so effortless, following other jobs she clearly lead me into false pretences as this most certainly isn’t the case in all deliveries. However, in the early hours of the morning, a beautiful healthy baby girl appeared.

3) Primary PCI – My second memory is a job that took me back to my routes, blue lighting my first Primary PCI into the cardiac catheter labs at Harefield Hospital and getting to stay during the angioplasty.

4) Working with people – The day I realised I could make a difference, not through just pre hospital aid but as a person. Sometimes giving a person that reassurance, that cup of tea and purely through talking to them can be the best form of medicine.

5) Working with other staff – Realising how front line staff really do work together, we are most certainly a team and I think we lack knowledge and praise for one another. I particularly remember a rather traumatic job I attended, and it was a job the Fire Service would never usually deal with, but we had no option to utilise their expertise in extricating this young boy out of the house of whom we had performed an open thoracotomy on. It is easy for us to forget that people are only human and those who don’t (or even do) see this all the time may well be very affected. I was therefore proud to be part of the front line team when I saw how both the police, ambulance and fire service all supported one another through a difficult situation.

Written by Karrie Wallace (ECG, Public Health Lead & Clinical Trainer), Friday 21st February 2020

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