A paramedic with 40 years’ experience has praised the University of Northampton for thoroughly preparing his son for a successful career on the ambulances.
When Dave Thorne joined the service in 1976, it was the norm for trainee paramedics to be thrown in at the deep end and expected to learn on the job.
“When I first started, all you needed was a first aid certificate, you were given a hand-me-down, mismatched uniform and that was that, you were on the road,” said the 61-year-old from Burbage, Leicestershire.
“On my second day in the job, we were called to an accident where a child had gone under a bus and I remember just staring, not knowing what to do, as my colleagues leapt into action.”
Things couldn’t be more different for Dave’s son Matt, who is receiving a careful blend of training and on-the-job experience as part of his Paramedic degree course at the University.
“The training he receives is excellent,” said Dave. “Trainees are taught about the patient autonomy and the physiology side of the job in their first year and the pharmaceutical side in their second year – they are a lot more skilled than we were when I joined the service.
“You can just see a clear difference between somebody who has trained at university and somebody who joined straight from school like me.
“My son Matt is unflappable when he’s working on the ambulance, and while that’s got a lot to do with his character, it’s also got plenty to do with the thorough training he receives at the University. He could not be any more prepared.”
Matt joined the University in September 2015, and has already seen the benefit of studying before going out on the road.
“There is so much information to take on board at the start of the course, and when you go on your first work placement, it all makes sense – you see things in an accident you’ve already learned about,” said Matt.
He added: “The job is amazing. I love the spontaneity of it, not knowing what you’ll find when you arrive at your destination – you get a real adrenaline rush, and total satisfaction from being able to help people who are relying on you.
“You have to put 100 per cent into the job. You need to treat each person in the way you would like your own family to be treated. We see a lot of elderly people with chronic illnesses and you need to interact with them, they really appreciate you taking your time to talk to them. You go that extra mile for them, make them a cup of tea and spend some time with them – just like you would for your own grandparents.”
Working alongside his dad while on placement at Narborough ambulance station, near Leicester, Matt’s come to appreciate the tough act he has to follow.
“For somebody to do something for so long, and still have that enthusiasm for the job is great to see,” said Matt.
“To see Dad in a professional light has been amazing for me, I’ve learnt so much from him, and to follow in his footsteps is something I’m really proud to be doing.”
Proud parent Dave added: “One part of the job will never change, and that’s caring for patients.
“Matt is caring, intelligent and knows when to have a laugh and a joke, which is an art in itself – his bedside manner is impeccable.
“I’ve worked a few shifts with him and I’ve been so impressed with how he gets on with the patients – I just stand back and let him get on with it. He’s a pleasure to work with and I’m just really proud of him.”