Aaron Bushnell, Devon Air Ambulance HEMS Technical Crew Member, shares his experience for International Paramedics' Day, 2024.  In his own words.

'The theme of this year's International Paramedics' Day is The Difference We Make and that is something I really pride myself on providing for all our patients. Whether we are attending a medical emergency or a traumatic injury, it never fails to amaze me how calm and organised my colleagues remain. I have always thought of myself as being particularly good with really sick patients throughout my career, keeping calm and managing the situation is at the heart of everything we do despite the speed and urgency of our service.'

A love of aviation 

'At 14 years old I joined my local Air Cadets where I was lucky enough to undertake a lot of flying activities. This is where I fell in love with aviation and became passionate about the technical aspects. I was also able to do lots of additional training and courses, including First Aid. 

'I really enjoyed that when administering first aid, I could make a difference and help people before an ambulance arrives, so following my A-Levels, I decided to pursue a career as a Paramedic and in 2014 I went to Plymouth University. Throughout my student paramedic course, I was based in Torquay, and I began getting more exposure to Helicopter Emergency Medical services (HEMS) such as Devon Air Ambulance.'

Paramedic, Aaron Bushell, and team attend patient in Devon field

Putting in the work

'I knew it was competitive to get into HEMS and that you need to show your dedication to the service, so I embarked on Level 7 qualifications in specialties such as trauma medicine and prehospital critical care. I continued my career as a paramedic and became a team lead in Learning and Development where I was responsible for educating others. I loved doing this, not only was I teaching others how to deliver much better care, but it also made me better at managing situations as well as the care I was delivering to patients.'

A dream comes trueDAA Paramedic, Aaron, with some young supporters 

'When I saw the role of HEMS Technical Crew being advertised by Devon Air Ambulance, I knew that this was an amazing opportunity to tie in both my love of aviation and provide exemplary prehospital critical care.  

'After the lengthy application process, I was finally offered the job and now I spend every day at work doing everything that I love. I sit in the front left seat of the helicopter, alongside the Pilot and provide support with navigation, thinking logistically about landing, obstructions, risks etc.. And then I support the Critical Care Paramedics on the scene.'

The bigger picture 

'Part of being clinical crew for a charity like Devon Air Ambulance means that there is so much more to our organisation that we can be involved in. From taking part in photoshoots with our marketing team, participating in radio interviews, to supporting campaigns and attending events with the fundraising team. 

I think charity events are just as important as the role itself. It gives us an opportunity to meet our amazing supporters, fundraisers and members of the public who keep the service operating. They make everything we do possible. 

'Additionally, we can show them how their hard work and donations are utilised to benefit our patients in need and answer any questions they might have about the service.'

Devon Air Ambulance is 100% funded by donations and we all want to ensure that the people of Devon and beyond know just how much we appreciate their support.  

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