George DuffinTell us a little bit about how you first got involved with St John Ambulance...

I first became involved with St John Ambulance when I was a Cadet. I was helping out at a local summer club as a sound and light technician when my friend’s mum saw St John Ambulance providing first aid cover. We joined up and I loved it so much that I decided to shift my career goals from audio visual engineer to becoming a paramedic!

What does your current volunteer role as an Emergency Transport Attendant involve?

My current volunteer role with St John Ambulance is primarily as an Emergency Transport Attendant. However, due to studying to become a paramedic through the University of Northampton, I have also been able to facilitate the delivery of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) events for other Emergency Transport Attendants and Advanced First Aiders.

Furthermore, I organised the first healthcare professional CPD day in Leicester. Over 50 St John Ambulance healthcare professionals and ambulance crew attended. They got to listen to top quality lectures from senior St John Ambulance clinicians, covering topics such as major incident management and pre-hospital child birth. I am very proud of that event!

How does volunteering support your career as a paramedic?

Before starting my Paramedic Science degree, my volunteer role allowed me to engage with people who needed assistance, were perhaps frightened and in pain.

It allowed me to develop the interpersonal skills needed to form a good rapport with patients.

Now, as I am at the end of my degree, I am able to transfer the skills I’ve learned into a different environment. For example, responding to a 999 ambulance call or an event medicine environment, which provide a completely different challenge!

University has taught me the advanced medical interventions, but they are of no use if I can’t win a patient’s trust and help them to remain calm in stressful situations.

What would you recommend to someone thinking about going into a medical profession?

Get as much experience in dealing with patients and service users as you possibly can! For example, volunteer in residential care homes or provide service delivery at a whole host of local and national events.

Also, if an exam, essay, or test doesn’t go well or you end up not getting into university first time around then apply again!

Get feedback, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and nail it next time around. Never give up!

What has been your best memory or experience volunteering with St John Ambulance?

For the past two years, I have volunteered at the New Year’s Eve celebrations in London. I have to say that my best memory of St John Ambulance is being able to transition into the new year surrounded by some of my best friends, volunteers, and my partner, in our St John Ambulance uniform, while watching the amazing fireworks and hearing Big Ben chime!

Finally, when you’re not busy working or volunteering, how do you like to spend your free time?

When I am not busy volunteering, I spend a lot of time with my family, friends, and my girlfriend (who is also a St John Ambulance volunteer!). We enjoy going out with the dogs, swimming, and cooking different cakes and foods.