Paramedics share their experiences for Armed Forces Reservist Day
Date: 21 June 2023
Two EEAST clinicians have talked about how being a reservist in the armed forces has enhanced both their clinical skills and developed their confidence and professional abilities.
Gavin Smith, a paramedic and former Leading Operations Manager for EEAST has also enjoyed a career in both the Army and the Royal Air Force as a regular and reservist which has spanned 33 years.
Since joining the Trust in 2015, he has maintained a position within the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, initially in a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) specialist role, and more latterly, as a field gunner in an Immediate Operational Response (IOR) role.
“These are just a few of the skills that my service career has given me,” said Gavin, “Others include linguistics, cultural awareness, intelligence, communications, investigatory, report generation as well as a myriad of others - nearly all have been directly transferable or have found some use during my time within the Ambulance Service
“Personally, my journey through the Ambulance Service has been as a direct result of my time within the armed forces, and I have found that EEAST have been truly supportive in allowing me to continue both roles side-by-side.
Sadly, Gavin who now works in an investigation role for EEAST, said he will be stepping down as a reservist shortly, but he would recommend it to others considering becoming a reservist:
“Given the choice, I would continue forever, however, there of course comes a point where the mind is willing but the body less so!
“Sometimes the journey to become a reservist may be arduous, other times it may be fun, but at all times, you will become part of a camaraderie and a team that is like no other - and when you return to your day-to day role, the skills you learn will be as valued as those that you already possess and will bring to your reservist role - whatever that may be!”
Mia Gill has been working for EEAST since 2016. As a reservist with the Royal Army Medical Corps she is a recognised paramedic and a combat medical technician (CMT (P)).
“I am incredibly proud to be a part of both organisations which have had a positive impact on my life and as a professional. I feel both roles really complement each other and EEAST are so supportive in allowing me time to conduct my military exercises.
“The military has helped me gain confidence and grow into an individual with integrity and discipline. This has helped me in my civilian role as a paramedic as I have the confidence to air my opinions, and act as a better advocate for my patients. I have also developed my trauma skills greatly, which I have utilised when attending patients and mentoring students and colleagues. I have evolved from a timid young individual to a confident and knowledgeable clinician."
Two EEAST Paramedics share how being reservists has enhanced their professional skills.