Clinical care assistant Sandy Bennett, aged 54, transferred from South West Ambulance Service to NEAS in January 2016. She had served 10 years in the South West, having initially started on patient transport. Sandy is married with three grown up children, and her hobbies include upcycling furniture and knitting.
Q. What attracted you to the job?
A. I had always wanted to join the ambulance service from being a young adult but had never had the opportunity until my youngest child started school.
Q. What brings you to work every day?
A. My role is very rewarding and I enjoy knowing I have made a difference to each patient and their wider family and friends in their hour of need.
Q. What is an average shift like?
A. No two shifts are the same, which highlights the variety of jobs we get sent to. Since the pandemic though, crews spend many hours queueing at hospitals, either at A&E or on a ward.
Q. What skills do you think people need to be able to do your job?
A. I believe to work in the ambulance service you need to be able to listen, reassure, have life experience, be willing to learn and, at times, plenty of patience.
Q. It can be a traumatic job at times, how do you look after yourself and what support do you get?
A. After any traumatic job it helps to discuss it with your crew mate immediately afterwards, also if required a clinical team leader.
Q. What has it been like working through the pandemic?
A. During the pandemic, the public were so courteous, taking part in clap for carers weekly. It was very surreal during the lockdown with the total lack of traffic on the roads. Grocery shopping was horrendous as the shelves were cleared when I could get to the shops. Our workload initially lulled then drastically increased and that has continued.
Q. How do you feel about being part of the BBC Ambulance show?
A. I felt the chance to film with the BBC would be a challenge & possibly the opportunity of a lifetime. I am very proud of what I do and relished the opportunity to demonstrate to my family as well as the general public what our jobs involve and how varied they are.
Q. What impact do you hope the series will have in the North East?
A. I hope that the series will demonstrate to the North East that we are all humans, doing our jobs to the best of our abilities, offering a really good quality of care, with a splash of humour thrown in when appropriate