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EOC blog: Training and developing our new call handlers

by Phil Churchill

category: EOC

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Phil has worked in the ambulance service for 17 years. Here he tells us about his career, his role as a trainer and what makes the job tick.

I started working in EOC after four years as an ambulance technician at Cambridge. I had been interested in joining the ambulance service or the police from a young age and with my mum being an A&E nurse, I developed an interest for the health service. In fact, whilst I was at Cambridge, I trialled the use of a Smart Car rapid response vehicle for two days based in the city centre. Lots of people enjoyed saying things like ‘You need a trailer for the patient’, ‘I knew times were tough but that’s ridiculous’ and a very lovely elderly lady who said ‘Never mind dear, when you grow up they’ll give you a bigger one’!

I work to support the trainers in their course delivery - this is the main part of our role but there’s a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure the training material is current and that we can evidence what has been taught in each course. I really enjoyed seeing call handlers who I had been working with taking their first 999 call; however much you prepare someone, it’s quite a daunting situation!

The most enjoyable part of my job is meeting new members of staff, finding out what brought them into this role and what their perception of the ambulance service is. I also get to see staff develop and grow in confidence.

The increase in call volume that we have been unable to match with increases in personnel resources (whether they be EOC staff or patient facing staff) undoubtedly has put phenomenal pressure on us as a Trust. What motivates me is the way that we all try to maintain patient care even when we are going through the bleakest of times!

The Trust value most important to me is care. I think we all joined the ambulance service because we want to care and in 10 or 20 years’ time, I still want to be in a role within our Trust that nurtures and develops our staff.

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