Real-life story - Louise De Groot
After spending ten years in the RAF Louise decided it was time for a career change. She knew she had an interest in medicine but wanted a role as fulfilling as her last. She chose a career in the ambulance service and hasn't looked back.
How I got into the role
I joined the ambulance service after ten years in the RAF. I'd always been interested in medicine and it seemed an ideal next career.
I qualified as a technician after basic training and a year's experience on the emergency ambulance and then went on to train as a paramedic at a residential training school followed by four weeks in hospital. We rotated around departments: theatre, coronary care, maternity and A&E.
I was enjoying working as a paramedic when I heard that the role of emergency care practitioner (ECP) was coming in.
I set off on a new course of training. I started by doing a full-time, 18-week course, which gave me a certificate of higher education in emergency care practice. I followed this up with another two modules, this time done in my own time over six months. Then I started another set of modules, and am almost about to achieve my BSc honours degree in community healthcare practice.
What I do
As ECPs we are in forefront of patient care, helping to reduce hospital admissions. I'm based at the ambulance station on weekdays where I respond to any level of 999 calls in a rapid response car, and at other times, I work at an appointment only, out-of-hours emergency service in Daventry. I see a huge range of different patients with different conditions and injuries. The beauty of the role is that I'm involved in primary care, acute care and emergency care.
My aim is to be the best that I can possibly be. Although I'm now a fully qualified emergency care practitioner, I'm still learning every day.
Best bits and challenges
I was particularly interested when I heard some ECPs were going to be involved in treating people in the community. Not all paramedic work is about trauma care and I'd found that I really liked treating people in their own homes, particularly older people.
I have the most fulfilling job you could possibly think of!