Name: Joe Long
Course: BSc Paramedic Science- 3rd Year
Volunteer Role: Community Volunteer
"These roles have helped me to develop my clinical skills as well as my personal skills which have made studying for my degree easier and will hopefully help me and my patients in the future"
What are your main duties and how do they benefit others?
I hold two roles within St John Ambulance, my main role is as a District Youth Officer and my duties are to support the cadet program in Suffolk by working with the District youth team to help unit leaders and assisting with local events. Since COVID my role has changed to running/organising/assisting online teaching and activities for the cadets in the East of England, which has been a great success and is still currently running one session every week with the cadets now running these sessions.
My second role is as Emergency Ambulance Crew, since the start of the pandemic St John Ambulance was asked to provide extra emergency ambulances to support NHS ambulance services on the frontline. My role as crew is to staff these extra ambulances with another volunteer and respond to 999 calls in conjunction with the ambulance service. Within the last 7 months, I and my crewmates have attended hundreds of patients and hopefully supported them all.
What have you enjoyed most about volunteering?
I have been apart of St John for over 14 years now as a badger, cadet, and now an adult member, and being able to give back to a charity that has supported me and helped me grow over the last 14 years is a great feeling. Although my favourite part of both of my roles is seeing the results of my roles and how mine and my team's actions have positively impacted the people they support, whether that be helping an elderly faller off the ground and helping her make dinner and organising for extra support and someone to talk to or helping a cadet understand something new, its an amazing feeling and is what keeps me coming back.
What skills have you learnt and used during your volunteering?
I have learned and developed so many skills through these roles. My communication skills have massively improved through having to give presentations, to having to support patients in a distressing time, these roles have let me develop new communication techniques. These roles have also allowed me to develop my decision-making and autonomy skills by allowing me to make important decisions in a supportive and open environment. I have also been lucky enough to complete my emergency driving course and I am now able to respond to 999 calls using blue lights.
What are your future career aspirations?
When I hopefully graduate next year as a paramedic I aim to work in the local ambulance service. These roles have helped me to develop my clinical skills as well as my personal skills which have made studying for my degree easier and will hopefully help me and my patients in the future. It has also allowed me to work alongside the ambulance service and gain a working relationship with my hopeful future employers.
What inspires you to volunteer?
I volunteer for 3 main reasons. Firstly I have made wonderful friends in St John, and it's often called the St John family because we are all so close and support each other. Secondly being able to help so many people feels amazingly rewarding and keeps me coming back, Finally it provides me with something exciting to do if I'm feeling down and provides a break from university.
What is your favourite volunteering memory?
My favourite memories from my Youth role are the residential courses and camps where you get to build on friendships and see cadets grown confidence in a matter of days. In my ambulance role, my best memories are the patients whom we could make the biggest difference and the patients who shared their stories some from the war and some of their careers.
Why do you love volunteering?
I love the friendships, the commodore, the support, and the atmosphere that exists within my roles and how they have helped me develop over the years. But mainly I love interacting with the people my roles support and seeing how these interactions benefit them.