My career in the NHS started in 1997, initially working as a nursing auxiliary in a small but busy A&E department in a very rural part of England. Those first couple of years provided me with an excellent understanding of how compassionate and quality care should be delivered. It also opened my eyes to the Paramedic profession which back then, was very different to now. Having considered a number of different ambulance services, I applied to join the Greater Manchester Ambulance Service and I have never looked back! I successfully completed the traditional IHCD technician training, and worked my early career in the Rochdale and Oldham area of Greater Manchester. I was really surprised at the diverse range of incidents I was attending. One minute in the beautiful Pennines, dealing with a horse riding or farming accident, the next in a City Centre bar assisting a mental health patient or on a busy motorway system dealing with a serious RTC. The range of incidents and challenges you experience working in the North West can really test you as a clinician.
Living and working in the North of England is amazing. You are never far from the hustle and bustle of a city centre and everything that offers in the way of social life, theatres and culture, but you are equally as close to some outstanding and beautiful countryside. The North West also has many large events, such as the Grand National at Aintree, major music concerts, PRIDE events and of course the many premiership football clubs who are located here. NWAS provides clinicians to these and many other events in the North West and I have been very fortunate to have been able to attend many of them during my career.
Opportunities for learning and development have always been available, this has enabled me to complete a DipHe in Paramedic Practice, a BSc in Contemporary Health Practice and an MSc in Advanced Practice, all funded through the organisation. This has allowed me to develop and grow as a clinician and a leader, and I am extremely proud to now be the NWAS Area Consultant Paramedic for Greater Manchester. NWAS continues to offer development opportunities to all clinical staff, through numerous formal academic courses and CPD opportunities.
NWAS has an amazing clinical leadership structure, which offers Paramedics the opportunity to develop themselves into a number of roles, from a newly qualified Paramedic responding on an ambulance through to Senior, Advanced, Consultant and beyond, right up to Assistant Director level as Chief Consultant Paramedic. The structure allows clinicians to also develop into speciality roles, such as infection control or frequent caller management. We are really proud of the clinical structure we have in place in NWAS as it provides ours clinicians with a formal clinical career pathway, supporting them with the necessary academic qualifications and training required to fulfil their role the highest standards and gain valuable qualifications, which are recognised right across the NHS.
The NHS and the Paramedic profession will continue to adapt and evolve as it responds to the needs of the community. Working for NWAS has ensured that I was also able to adapt and evolve as a clinician, to the challenges that we face as a Paramedic. If you want to enjoy a career in a supportive organisation, with an established clinical leadership structure and the opportunity to develop the skills required of a Paramedic in the modern NHS, NWAS is definitely for you!