Clinical care assistant Emma Reaveley
1) Why did you decide to become an apprentice in the NHS?
A career in the ambulance service is something I wanted to do from being young, but I always doubted my ability and convinced myself I wouldn’t be able to do it. I have always wanted to help people and make a difference but never really knew how, thinking I couldn’t possibly be good enough. After caring for my mum for 18 months before she passed away in May 2019, I realised I had what it takes and when I saw the job advert shortly after she died, I decided to apply and now I am in my dream job and have never looked back.
2) What is a typical day like?
My day starts with checking the vehicle, making sure it is well stocked, the equipment works, and ensuring we have everything we need for the day ahead. Once this is all checked and signed off, there is little time to rest as you usually get a job within the first few minutes of your shift. My job and tasks include driving to incidents and to hospital, taking general observations from patients, including ECGs, heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturations, blood sugars and temperatures. I assist the paramedic with any intervention, such as cannulating, and making sure everything they need is there in a timely manner; I prepare the drugs to give to patient and administer oxygen if needed using relevant masks. My role is to assist with cardiac arrests and other life-threatening emergencies, which are challenging but you are well trained and prepared for them.
My job also entails different forms of manual handling, assisting patients up off the floor, or out of their home using an array of equipment on the vehicle if they are unable to mobilise themselves.
Once we decide to take a patient to hospital, I ensure the vehicle is prepared for the patient to be on the stretcher or chair, get them settled and strapped in safely and then take them to the nearest A&E.
But throughout all of this, the most rewarding part of the job is being able to communicate with the patients, build a relationship with them and make them feel comfortable and enable them to trust you in sometimes challenging and stressful situations.
3) How has COVID-19 affected you and your work?
COVID 19 has affected everyone in ways that we never thought was possible. I left a job of 20 years sitting behind a desk to changing my career in the midst of a world pandemic. Nothing like jumping in the deep end! However, it has been the biggest and best learning curve. For me, seeing the barriers to people’s daily life and how it has changed so many things we may have once taken for granted has made me become more understanding and realise that I am thankful I am still out of the house being able to help people at their most vulnerable. I have a chance to make a real difference and that makes me humble and thankful.
4) Do you have any thought or reflections about your time so far as an apprentice in the NHS?
I have absolutely loved my time so far as an apprentice, I am doing the job I love, getting paid a full-time wage and learning every single day. I have met some amazing colleagues who are willing to help me and allow me to develop my skills as much as I can. The apprenticeship is well structured and procedures in place work well from the classroom training to the advanced driving to the follow up support on the road. Everything was excellent but it’s true what they say, the true learning starts on the road once you get your crew mate and your first patients, that’s when the learning really begins. I would recommend this path to anyone thinking of joining the NHS, it’s been a really positive experience for me.
We have a range of other apprenticeships which you can find out more about here: /careers/apprenticeships.aspx