Carlin How based paramedic Jonny Gwynne, aged 40, of Brotton, joined NEAS in 2015, having previously been an operations manager for a leisure centre and an Army Reservist. Married with two young girls, Jonny collects Warhammer models and you’ll find him playing games on his computer when he’s not at work.
Q. What attracted you to the job?
A. I always wanted to become a paramedic, to be able to help people in our communities who require acute or emergency care.
Q. What brings you to work every day?
A. Meeting different people, being able to work autonomously, the variety of incidents we attend, and working with a great crew mate.
Q. What is an average shift like?
On any given shift, the type of incidents we attend can vary from chest pains, to major trauma, from infections or mental health episodes to cardiac arrests. Some shifts can be very straight forward, sometimes exhausting and challenging.
Q. What skills do you think people need to be able to do your job?
A. A good communicator and someone who can show empathy and remain calm in a high-pressured situation.
Q. It can be a traumatic job at times, how do you look after yourself and what support do you get?
A. I would confide in my colleagues, who are good listeners and have possibly witnessed similar episodes. If necessary, I will speak to my family and have the option for counselling through the ambulance service, including the TRIM service.
Q. What has it been like working through the pandemic?
A. Initially it was quite scary not knowing fully what we were dealing with, but it was very humbling when the nation started clapping for the NHS and carers. It was challenging trying to diagnose patients initially and the guidance kept changing rapidly. Initially, during the first lockdown, we found a reduction in the amount of incidents we were attending, however numbers started to surge and have not stopped since, so I sometimes feel exhausted and upset due to the amount of queuing that we are now experiencing whilst trying to drop off our patients, knowing there are patients waiting many hours for our help to arrive. But the public seem to be aware of the situation and the majority are very understanding.
Q. Where do you see your career heading?
A. I am more than content at present to continue as a paramedic based on an ambulance, but I also really enjoy mentoring university students studying to become paramedics.
Q. How do you feel about being part of the BBC Ambulance show?
A. At first I was unsure and nervous but it now feels a privilege and I am glad to have been involved with the series. I hope it displays the variety of incidents we attend and shows NEAS and the North East in good way, displaying the stories of our crews and of course our patients. It was a really positive experience, the producers made us feel relaxed and comfortable and guided us through the process. I was expecting the cameras to be very intrusive, but it was not like that at all. It was an excellent experience that I would highly recommend.
Q. What impact do you hope the series will have in the North East?
A. I believe the series will highlight the good work the service conducts within the communities of the North East. It will provide a good insight for the public to see how we work, the types of incidents we respond to, all whilst hopefully recognising land marks and areas of the North East.
Q. What do you love about the North East?
A. I love the North East for its friendly people and the variety of landscapes from coast to moors and everything in-between. I love getting out walking on the local North Yorkshire Moors.