My name is Erin, I’m 21 and in my second year at Keele, studying Human Resource Management and International Business. I have been volunteering with St John Ambulance for about two years now and would like to share with you my experiences over Covid19.
I am an Advanced First Aider for St John Ambulance meaning I normally go out onto events such as Football matches, races or concerts and provide first aid cover for those events. My advanced skills include airway management and spine immobilisation. With the pandemic however, all events were cancelled until further notice and all of us SJA volunteers were left with nothing to do. It was decided that we couldn’t sit around and watch as our country suffers. We were trained up to work alongside nurses and doctors in hospitals all over the country and to support the NHS in this unprecedented situation.
I was one of the first three volunteers to be deployed to the Royal Stoke University Hospital here in Newcastle to work in the Emergency Department. There I was trained to provide basic support to nurses, such as taking observations, running ECGs, doing paperwork, escorting patients to scans or to the wards and to lend an extra hand in Trauma cases. Furthermore, I was there to emotionally support patients within A&E and to lend an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on.
I cannot explain how grateful I am for the opportunity to support my local hospital during this pandemic and to be able to lend a helping hand when it was most needed. I have had a lot of feedback from patients and staff thanking St John Ambulance for their service and for putting ourselves on the front line when we didn’t have to.
It was truly a wonderful experience!