Paramedic Science graduate on volunteering on the front line.
Published: 27 August 2020
James Hibbert graduated from St George’s in Paramedic Science this year and has been working as Emergency Ambulance Crew for the London Ambulance Service since April. The voluntary role was created in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
James explains, “I was still a student and living at home when I applied for the role. Everything moved very quickly and I was given a day’s notice to move back to London to begin my induction. As volunteers, we had two days of induction and one day in the classroom before going out on shifts”.
Covid-19 Support Emergency Ambulance Crew roles were created in response to the unique challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. The role was open to third-year Paramedic Science students at St George’s, with students in the second year of the course able to volunteer for call handling roles.
James was one of 35 volunteers from St George’s and continues, “As Emergency Ambulance Crew you attend bank shifts, so you could be out on the road with a Paramedic or grouped with a fellow Emergency Ambulance Crew, so it’s important to be able to work independently and use your initiative.
"I have mostly been responding to calls from patients with chronic illnesses and have seen patients with coronavirus every day during the peak of the pandemic.
“I was a bit apprehensive at first and there was a lot of fear at the start of the outbreak. I was treating some patients who were acutely unwell and saw many who were presenting the worst symptoms of Covid-19. At times, being on the front line was quite scary, but I love the role and have always enjoyed working within a team.
"Although the last few months have been challenging, the support we had from the University, as well as other staff members within the service, has really helped.”
James continues volunteering for the London Ambulance Service and hopes to ultimately move into a career as a Paramedic in Urgent Care following further study.
Reflecting on his experience over the last few months, James adds, “Although it feels bittersweet that we will not be able to have a formal graduation from St George’s this year, I have really enjoyed playing an active role in helping on the front line. The role has allowed me to learn things about my chosen career and gain the sort of experience you normally would not have the opportunity to as a student.”