Jodie Gough tells us a little bit about her experience volunteering with us…
What is your official volunteer title (or titles)?
My official title is Event First Aider, but I’m also a Community First Responder.
Talk us through a typical volunteering day.
My typical volunteering day usually begins with an early start and a pain au chocolat (naturally). And then depending on the nature of the duty, it’s a day packed full of treating patients and lots of socialising! I really love the social aspect of volunteering with St John – along with the patient interaction, of course.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from volunteering with us?
How important it is to be calm and reassuring. You can give the patient the best treatment in the world, but learning how to be a comforting shoulder for someone to lean on in a crisis is extremely valuable. Always be kind!
Describe the most enjoyable aspect of your role…
Actually seeing a patient improve due to the care you’re giving them - whether that care is medical or pastoral. It's extremely rewarding. I also love meeting lots of volunteers from across the country.
Pick three words that sum up your fellow volunteers.
Inspirational. Dedicated. Fun, (that’s very important!).
What’s the weirdest situation you’ve faced?
I once had a man come to me with a piece of metal in his eye - he said it had happened before as he is a welder, but he refuses to wear an eye mask!
Another interesting scenario was at Radio 1's Big Weekend when a girl in the audience collapsed right in front of Coldplay. The band’s marketing team came along to the medical tent to give her free merchandise! I thought that was lovely.
How did you get involved with St John Ambulance?
I saw the stall at a Freshers' Fair and thought it looked interesting - so I went to a few sessions and was totally 100% hooked. I've never looked back!
You want to be a paramedic, did that ambition come before your volunteering with us or as a result of it?
Oh, it definitely came as a result of my volunteering with St John Ambulance. I love what I do so much and now want to help in a more involved way as a paramedic. I'm already a Community First Responder, and am really loving furthering my skill set and experience.
How do your volunteer roles prepare you for a potential future as a paramedic?
They are the entire basis of my clinical and patient experience. There is no better preparation for a future paramedic than getting first-hand experience treating patients at a range of events. And I have St John Ambulance to thank for that!
At the end of a long volunteer day, what’s the one thing that makes you think, ‘Yup, I’ll be happy to do this again next week’?
I have never come home from an event and not wanted to go back the next time. The entire atmosphere of being at an event – making a difference for patients and doing so alongside some of your best friends – is the best feeling ever. I can't explain how much St John Ambulance has changed my life.