The Great Northern Air Ambulance Service’s (GNAAS) youngest paramedic has completed the charity’s grueling process with flying colours.
Holly Smith, from Chester-le-Street, joined the charity in January this year after working for the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) for nine years.
Miss Smith is the youngest paramedic ever to work for the organisation, aged just 28.
Miss Smith said: “I am relieved and very proud of myself. It was probably the most intense and stressful eight hours of my life and I can safely say I’m glad it’s over.”
At GNAAS, the term “discharge” means that clinicians have completed all the necessary requirements to provide prehospital resuscitation in a helicopter or in an ambulance without the supervision of another team member—a major milestone.
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Miss Smith said: “The night before I woke up I had a bad night’s sleep and a million different things going through my head, to the point of overthinking whether I had got the team ready for breakfast!
“I felt sick in the morning before going to work.”
The rigorous GNAAS sign-off process involves preparing breakfast for the entire intensive care team, followed by a full day of intensive scenario simulation, three written exams and three panel presentations.
Miss Smith said: “After my assessments were over, the team went into the room to talk about how things had gone.
“One of my assessors, GNAAS paramedic Gordon Ingram, took me back to the room and asked me, ‘Do you think you’re ready,’ then paused and added, ‘Because we are.’
“I started crying and there were hugs and high fives all around. I was on cloud nine”
GNAAS Director of Operations Andy Mawson said: “Holly shone during her training and graduation.
“I hope she can be an inspiration not only to our colleagues, but to all those who may not get the opportunity to work in ICU, showing that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.
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“We are very proud of her and I know she will be brilliant.”
Miss Smith added: “I think the next few months will just be about cementing my skills here and building on what I already know!
“It’s been one hell of a ride and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
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