RAF News

Praise for RAF Medic sign language use

Image shows Sergeant Drysdale with a member of the public at a COVID vaccine centre.
Sergeant Cheryl Drysdale received a heartfelt thanks from the member of the public on Twitter after using British Sign Language whilst administering the vaccine in the London area.

An RAF Medic has received a touching online thanks after using sign language while administering COVID-19 vaccines in support of the NHS.

RAF Medic, Sergeant Cheryl Drysdale, who is based at RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire, received a heartfelt thanks from the member of the public on Twitter after using British Sign Language (BSL) whilst administering the vaccine in the London area.

“During one of my vaccination clinics I met Jenny who is deaf and was struggling to communicate with staff due to her reliance on lip reading which was inhibited by masks. On arrival at my vaccination station I used my knowledge of BSL and started to communicate with Jenny.” She added, I could see immediately that Jenny was relieved and put at ease by communicating in BSL. During her time with me, Jenny briefly explained the difficulties she has had historically when attending medical appointments.”

Sergeant Cheryl Drysdale
RAF Medic

Cheryl learned BSL while growing up as both her brothers are profoundly deaf, she uses sign language every day as the family’s main way of communicating. She said: “It is normal for me to use BSL within my daily life, however I have seen first-hand the challenges the deaf community face and where I can, I try to be an ambassador for BSL through its use and through teaching it to colleagues.”

Unbeknown to Cheryl, Jenny tweeted later that week to say how happy she was to be able communicate with a “RAF Woman” during a medical appointment. Speaking of the online thanks, Sergeant Drysdale said: “I'm surprised and humbled by the Tweet, especially reading the positive responses it received.”

Image shows a tweet from Jenny.

Since joining the Op RESCIPT vaccination team, she has used BSL frequently but was surprised to discover only one BSL user had an interpreter present at their appointment. She believes this is something which could easily be changed if more people were to learn BSL.

“I am immensely proud to be deployed on Op RESCRIPT and for the part I have played in the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.”

Sergeant Cheryl Drysdale
RAF Medic

Image shows military personnel at a COVID vaccine centre.

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