As a RAF Paramedic embedded with 15 Sqn RAF Regiment, I complete Continual Professional Development to maintain clinical effectiveness which includes shifts within the NHS. This enhances my medical skills and knowledge and allows me to work as an autonomous practitioner. During the Coronavirus pandemic15 Squadron have reduced activity to essential training only. This has allowed me to complete NHS Ambulance shifts to support my NHS colleagues and continue to develop myself as a Clinician.
In the face of Coronavirus, the job of a Paramedic has adapted however ultimately the goal is the same. One change is the need to wear more PPE. For the East of England Ambulance Service there are a few levels of PPE available, levels being selected dependent on patient illness, environment, local protocols and an individual’s dynamic risk assessment.
Conversations whilst wearing a mask can be difficult and building a rapport with a child is more challenging as they may not understand the circumstances, the importance of facial expressions shouldn’t be underestimated, these can help reassure patients without even having to say anything, but now different methods must be used. Overheating can also be problematic depending on the job, environment and level of PPE worn.
Despite it being at the forefront of everybody’s mind, paramedics do not just treat Coronavirus patients, however we must wear PPE to every patient. By following government guidelines, we will eventually be able to reduce these new barriers and return to normal practice. Personally, it has been very rewarding to continue to support the NHS, and the experience gained continues to stand me in good stead professionally.
Sgt Katie Bennett
15 Squadron Paramedic