Ambulance care assistant Laura Walsh

Laura Walsh1)     Why did you decide to become an apprentice in the NHS?

Working for the ambulance service was always on my radar from leaving school, but after having children I instead gained many years of invaluable work experience elsewhere. Just before the first lockdown, I saw a job advertised for an ambulance care assistant with NEAS and I decided that, if I don’t do it now, I never would. My family were 100% behind me and actually, what better example would I be setting my children as I always tell them, if you want something you should always go for it.

2)     What is a typical day like?

I transport patients to and from hospital appointments for anything from routine check-ups to regular treatments and have met some very interesting people along the way. To me, it’s more than just being a transport service. Sometimes you are the only person a patient may have seen for a few days, or even weeks, and so my role becomes that of  a counsellor, or a friendly ear to listen.

We also assist with discharges and admissions when a patient’s condition isn’t serious or life threatening,  which can be quite interesting as you need to have enough information to be able to offer the hospital staff some sort of handover once admitted, which can sometimes mean you are playing detective with the patient trying to obtain what could be vital information.

My daily job also involves a routine clean of the vehicle I’m in, ensuring it is fully stocked with all necessary PPE etc and is nice and clean for our patients. Daily work can involve you either being double or single crewed and it’s been nice to have the opportunity to do both. Working alongside one of your colleagues allows you to learn new ways of doing things and working as a single crew has allowed me to realise how much I’ve actually learnt, and that I’m more than capable of providing a safe, efficient service for patients in line with NEAS values.

3)     What did you do before the apprenticeship?

I previously worked for a company working alongside Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) dealing with Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Benefit Assessments.

4)     How has COVID-19 affected you and your work? 

COVID-19 has been a real struggle for everyone, more so for some of the patients we transport. I’ve had to adapt my way of working to ensure their needs are accommodated safely.  I’ve certainly become more aware of the necessity to wear PPE and it took a few weeks to adjust to working out and about rather than from home, as I was in my previous job. I wouldn’t say it negatively impacted my work or the way I work. Icome to work knowing that I have a job to do that other people rely on, so I’ve always carried out my duties to the best of my ability.

5)     Do you have any thought or reflections about your time so far as an apprentice in the NHS? 

It’s been a real eye opener in the sense that it’s completely different to what I was doing prior to taking on this role. However, I’m really enjoying it. It was tough going during training with written assignments, but my training group were fantastic and we really helped each other out. I’ve gained invaluable experience during my time in this role and have had access to plenty of learning opportunities along the way that I hope will stand me in good stead, should I wish to progress my career further.

You can find out more about the NEAS apprenticeship roles here: /careers/apprenticeships.aspx

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