Q&A with Paramedic Will Dunkerley
Alumnus Will Dunkerley, who graduated last year, is a paramedic in the London Ambulance service. In his role, he works alongside frontline ambulances responding to calls, but since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic he also works alongside firefighters, volunteers and final year Paramedic Science students to help increase the number of ambulances available to respond. Will has been working with third year student paramedics from St George’s who have been acting as ambulance technicians during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since April, the London Ambulance Service has been accepting third year students from Paramedic Science courses at St George's, University of London, the University of Greenwich, the University of Hertfordshire and Anglia Ruskin University, as their training allows them to respond to calls on the road. Second year students have also been involved in the Covid-19 response. Here, Will speaks to us about working with student paramedics, and how his role has changed over the last few months.
Will says, “I have loved working with the student paramedics. They have been employed by London Ambulance Service as 'Emergency Ambulance Crew' during the pandemic. The London Ambulance Service only does this with partner universities in London and St George’s is one of these”.
“It is really nice to come across students in the years just below you. It is good to see familiar faces out on the road, and working together helps the shifts go quickly.
Speaking about how his role has changed since the start of the outbreak, he says, “there have been lots of changes. We wear more PPE to every patient contact, and we have further PPE which must be worn whenever we provide treatments which generate large amounts of aerosols. We have also provided more intensive care transfers than before”.
"The biggest challenge has been working with the extra PPE. The respirators we are given make talking to patients and colleagues difficult, as well as making us less recognisable. We have overcome this my using name labels for our suits and respirators which also state our skill level. We have also been paired up with firefighters, where they drive to and from calls, as well as helping with some tasks”.
He adds, “St George’s prepared us really well to make sure we can all independently assess and treat patients and build our confidence with lots of placement on ambulances and also with specialist placement such as intensive care, A&E and GP surgeries to name a few!”
Speaking about how he stays positive in these challenging times, he says, “I’m really glad that I am still able to come into work and see my colleagues and it has been fantastic that I can be outside at work as well!”
“My advice to new graduates entering the profession would be not to do anything you don’t feel comfortable to do, to ask where you are unsure and to take the time to enjoy starting your new career!”