Due to circumstances outside my control I was placed in care three times as a child and left home early as a result.
It had always been a childhood dream of mine to become a paramedic, and this was rekindled when I started working for a homeless charity in Cardiff so I studied the access course needed in Cardiff and was accepted to study Paramedic Science at Swansea University.
After struggling with education as a college student I did not believe that, at 34, I was capable of passing A Levels or a Dip HE. I had been identified as having dyslexia whilst at Cardiff and Vale College but I was helped there and the support continued at Swansea University: I was provided with one-to-one tuition, a laptop, software and medical spell checker. Also, my spelling and grammar were not marked, just the context of my work which meant I was on a level playing field with other students. This support played a huge part in helping me pass the course.
The course is very challenging, and it should be, as the responsibilities of a paramedic are great. However, I enjoyed the fact the course pushed me, developed me and provided the core skills needed for the job.
There are many qualities a good paramedic needs to possess. Top of the list is the ability to remain calm and in control of the situation. This is achieved through excellent communication skills, which I believe 90% of the job is about. If you can communicate clearly then you can help those that need it.
I have been qualified for four months now and work in the Pembrokeshire region. I have also worked in the army reserves for two and a half years as a defence paramedic. The civilian skills I have as a paramedic and the military training I undertake are transferable and complement both of my jobs. I have also worked in hostels services for five years – working with those with complex support needs including alcohol addiction, mental ill-health and substance misuse.
There are so many instances where I feel I’ve been able to make a difference to people’s lives. We have two ears and one mouth and it’s so important to listen. I hope to continue making a difference by listening - patients will often express their needs if they are given a chance.
I am a Lifesaver.