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“How I became part of the team with London’s Air Ambulance,” Lisa Burrell, Senior Lecturer, Paramedic Science, shares her inspirational experiences.

Lisa Burrell

When I first joined the ambulance service I was excited about being in a position where I could be the first point of contact to help people going through a crisis. I never gave much thought to the Air Ambulance as in London this is targeted at a small minority of extremely high acuity trauma cases and didn’t feature often in my day to day role. I was, however, lucky enough to meet some extremely motivated paramedics who were working with London’s Air Ambulance and couldn’t speak highly enough of the service the charity provides.

I was invited on an observational shift one night by one of these paramedics. The helicopter in London does not fly at night but the doctor paramedic team still respond in a car. Our first case of the night was a call to a young girl who had been run over by a car. When we arrived she was in a critical state. The team were able to bring clear direction and life saving advanced skills with impressively robust drills. It was the debrief, however, that had me hooked. The doctor and paramedic pulled apart every detail of the case to push and challenge themselves and strive to deliver the highest level of patient care with no excuses and no compromise.

Lisa Burrell

I began to attend some of London’s Air Ambulance clinical governance days where again I heard similar teams discuss and critique their actions with different patients. It was inspirational and before long I was putting myself through the gruelling process of learning and training to pass entry assessments.

I was lucky enough to have a thoroughly supportive line manager at St George’s who recognised early the benefit for our team in pursuing clinical development. She organised release from my role at the time as a Senior Lecturer teaching on the paramedic sciences programme to undertake this as a nine month sabbatical and I can truly say it has been the highlight of my clinical career so far. It is an immense privilege to work for an organisation so dedicated in every detail to their patients. I learned from some of the best clinicians in pre-hospital care, developed advanced skills in trauma management and met some patients I will never forget.

Now, back in the classroom, I hope some of this rigor and passion comes across in my teaching and inspires those who are at the beginning of their exciting career path as a paramedic.