There is a continuous need to keep our knowledge up to date. Our procedures, drugs, protocols are changing regularly. And so much evidence-based medicine is out there now for us to practice, according to the guidelines change frequently, that is a challenge. In 31 years of me being a paramedic, we have gone from having oxygen and a carrying chair and a blanket to having a range of life-saving drugs, pain relief medicines, electronic machinery that previously would have been unheard of in the pre-hospital environment. So you have to have the mindset of a process of continuous professional development.
I have been a paramedic for 22 years. It is incredibly rewarding, but also it is incredibly hard work. I do not think a lot of people coming into paramedic science these days realise how stressful it is, how hard it is, how long the hours are. But yeah, I think it is one of the best jobs in the world, but I think it is becoming very, very hard, very long hours and very stressful, and I think we need to have a bit of a line drawn in the sand to try and look after paramedic crews a little bit better.
Providing that we put our training into practice when it is needed, no matter what the outcome of that particular job is we know that we can say to ourselves, we can put our head on our pillows really and say, “Today I did my best for that patient.” And even if that patient… If the outcome is not good, that is kind of some comfort to us. That is always going to be a challenge for anybody working in a primary emergency care or in any healthcare setting really. Patients die, patients get worse. But then again, only two weeks ago I delivered a little baby boy on Christmas Eve actually. 32 weeks, premature, three pounds, one, second baby, should have been delivered by section, delivered it in the back of the ambulance. Moments like that that stay with you forever.