For our PTS Takeover week, Gina, a new recruit to our patient transport service team in Waveney, tells us about her role as an ambulance care assistant (ACA), her work before joining us, why she chose a role in PTS and becoming part of the team.
My name is Georgina but I much prefer to be called Gina. I worked as a health care assistant for more than 11 years at both James Paget Hospital in Gorleston and the Community Hospital in Lowestoft. I have always enjoyed my role in the hospitals and being a real people person I love the interaction with patients, families and work colleagues and knew this was the right career for me; but felt I wanted to expand my skills whilst still remaining in the caring profession.
In my role I travelled with PTS crews as an escort which gave me an insight into the role of an ambulance care assistant and when returning to the ward I always felt quite envious being left behind as the crew went on their next journey. The ACA role would give me patient care, interaction, variety and added freedom of travelling the area and I knew this was the next step for me. I had been waiting for an opportunity to join the East of England Ambulance NHS Trust for about two years, continually searching the NHS jobs website until one day ‘bingo’! my chance had arrived.
I was delighted when I received the email inviting me for an interview and spent the next couple of weeks researching the Trust on the internet, practicing interview questions and overjoyed all this work paid off and I was offered the job.
I was apprehensive of completing the three-week residential training course and my previous training and experience within the hospital gave me perhaps a slight advantage on the clinical training, but at times I did find myself under a lot of pressure on the driving course although all trainers were very professional and we had some laughs along the way.
When I arrived at Waveney Depot for my first shift, I was nervous and not overly confident but some of the faces of my new colleagues were familiar to me as I had previously travelled with them on the vehicles and was soon put at ease by the friendly warm welcome I received by all. Everyone I have worked with so far has been extremely helpful and eager to help me learn my new role, a role which has met my expectations and I am thoroughly enjoying gaining new skills and confidence each day.
I have been surprised at the amount of manual handling required in this role and the limited equipment for completing these tasks; in the hospital environment I am use to using hoists etc. but given the space restrictions in the back of a PTS vehicle these luxuries are not possible anymore. I enjoy driving to places I have never been to before and feel very proud to wear the uniform, and when on the hospital ward all my old colleagues flock around me wanting to know all about my new role. When applying I had never envisaged this role would also introduce me to so many new people who I already regard as not only colleagues but good friends.
I feel this is a role that will offer me future opportunities and look forward to working with the Trust for many years.