Tales of the unexpected – the life of a paramedic

Mark Rowley, Paramedic

Mark Rowley, Paramedic

Those who have been watching the new Channel 4 series ‘999 What’s Your Emergency?’ so far will have seen Paramedic Mark Rowley in action helping young people in trouble, as well as people who’ve drunk to excess. In tonight’s programme (Monday, October 21, at 9pm) we see Mark and his colleagues work with those with mental health issues, and here Mark talks about the highs and the lows of his job.

Our scope of practice is ever increasing, we are continually being updated on new treatment methods and care pathways. We are now able to carry out a wide range of medical procedures all aimed at improving the patients outcome in the pre hospital environment and these life-saving procedures (many of which aren’t in your everyday vocabulary) include needle cricothyroidotomy, chest thorocentesis, and endotracheal intubation. We also look after the drunks and we are expected to treat individual or multiple patients and provide the best possible care at all times.

During the making of this series we had drownings, stabbings, myocardial infarctions (heart attacks), road traffic collisions, cardiac arrests, suicides… this usually never happens! We had to get a separate vehicle to deal with the non-traumatic falls and hospital avoidance patients to help relieve the strain on the front line resources.

The most rewarding part of my job is by far the adrenaline rush and satisfaction I get from helping with the ‘big jobs’ or very unwell patients that following treatment, dramatically improve from our care and actions. I also like working as a team; we share mutual experiences good and bad so it is the knowledge that your colleagues are all in the same boat and have your back whatever the situation. Great friendships are formed from that kind of camaraderie. Last but not least.. delivering a healthy baby. Living the dream!

As I predominantly work on a rapid response car I am finding it increasingly challenging to get a resource to back me up for the proper unwell patients. I also find it challenging how the service is having to adapt to a more primary care stance as opposed to emergency treatment. When I first started with the ambulance service (all them years ago) I thought my job would be none stop carnage! Job after job mayhem, instead we are dealing with more and more incidents suitable for GPs and other health care organisations.

Two EEAST ambulances

Two East of England ambulances on scene at night

A good paramedic is obviously someone who cares. We can all be guilty of becoming despondent with the job, and it can be difficult  to maintain caring standards, but a good paramedic has the ability to notice their enthusiasm is lacking and make the appropriate effort to ensure they recapture the love and passion to help people that they had when first applying to do this role. I believe 90% of our role is to calm and reassure a patient – this alone can help them feel much better – and early recognition of potentially life-threatening conditions can be literally the difference between life or death.

I hope this series portrays the hard work and care we devote to the general public and educates some of our regular patients, as well as informing others who feel we are their only access to healthcare. I hope it helps to hammer home the misconception that patients get seen quicker if they travel to hospital by ambulance. Over all I hope it’s interesting and entertaining.

I thoroughly love my job and can say in the 10 years I have worked for the service, now is the most fulfilling as it’s ever been.

Mark Rowley,


About East of England Ambulance Service

Our aim is to be the recognised leader in emergency, urgent and out of hospital care in the East of England....
This entry was posted in 999, Ambulance Service, Calling 999, Emergency services, life-saver. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Tales of the unexpected – the life of a paramedic

  1. Colin Tevers says:

    10 years ???? really ??? thought you did your SAP course 2008 ish ??

  2. D.sims says:

    So Mark has only actually been a Registered Paramedic since a year or more after he completed his training in 2008, and not for the past ten years as his article suggests ?

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