Cramlington-based paramedic Andrew was in the Army prior to joining the ambulance, having completed operational tours of Afghanistan. The 33-year-old, from Northumberland, joined NEAS in 2017. He and his partner Emily have a baby daughter called Francesca.
Q. What attracted you to the job?
A. I witnessed the devastation a lack of healthcare has on other parts of the world. It was something I was passionate about whilst serving and something I actively worked towards in preparation for my switch to civilian life.
Q. What brings you to work every day?
A. Everyday is different, different interactions with all walks of life. I see the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor and everything in between. My wonderful partner Emily gave birth to our daughter Francesca 10 weeks early and she had a stay in special care baby unit. It was interesting swapping hats and becoming a service user over a provider. It’s easy to forget that all the illness and injury we go to could quite easily happen to yourself or your family, and that’s partly why I do what I do.
Q. What is an average shift like?
A. An average shift depending how many shifts I’ve done previous can be long. Lately there has been a huge demand for paramedics to provide primary and urgent care. I have noticed a large increase in social needs and referrals being made.
Q. What skills do you think people need to be able to do your job?
A. You need a calm nature with the ability to think clearly but quickly, as well as a good problem solving mindset and the ability to be assertive when needed. As a paramedic a large part of our job is to listen; if you can successfully do that, you’re half way there.
Q. It can be a traumatic job at times, how do you look after yourself and what support do you get?
A. I have a good support network at home. My partner works in ICCU so has a good understanding of what I do day to day and I have a beautiful five-month-old daughter who never fails to put a smile on my face. I have built up a resilience from my time in the military and I am able to switch off and very rarely take my work home. If I do, I have a good group of mates who I qualified with, we grab a burger and a beer and put the world to rights when needed.
Q. What has it been like working through the pandemic?
A. At first it was daunting, and the pressure was high with guidance changing every day and high staff sickness makind for a demanding time. However, as with everything pre-hospital, we adapted and did our jobs to the best of our ability as always.
Q. Where do you see your career heading?
A. I have a desire to work within HART and resilience and in the future I will look at progressing into advanced practice and critical care
Q. How do you feel about being part of the BBC Ambulance show?
A. Being part of Ambulance was something I wasn’t really comfortable with at first. However, since taking part it has really been a privilege and something I have really enjoyed.
I have been nervous about the reception from fellow colleagues, friends and members of the public – it’s quite a big thing to open yourself up as registered paramedic for the world to see. There is always going to be scrutiny and negativity, especially when fitting 48 hours of filming into a five or 10 minute segment, but the positives outweigh the negatives and I hope I have shown how amazing we are as a service, how fantastic the area and the people that make up the North East are.
Q. What impact do you hope the series will have in the North East?
A. I hope people think before ringing, I hope we encourage self-care and alternative pathways, I hope we can encourage bystander CPR, and I hope people change their minds for the better about the North East.
Q. What do you love about the North East?
A. The never-ending coastline. The people who just craic on, and the fact that it’s home.