Paul White is a dad of three who loves mountain biking, cars and a nice cuppa. He's also one of our newest recruits. Here he shares his experiences of what directed him to become a Trainee Advanced Paramedic in Critical Care at Devon Air Ambulance. 

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

When I was young I wanted to drive one of those assistance buggies around the airport.

When did you know you wanted to become a paramedic?

I never really knew what I wanted to do with my life. Being a Christian I prayed a lot and whilst I was on mission in Argentina someone collapsed in the children’s home we were working in. I then knew I wanted to be the person who knew what to do in that situation and I didn’t at that time. So I applied to join the ambulance service where I lived. I wanted to be the best I could be and to be a Paramedic.

Can you describe your career journey to DAA?

My journey to DAA has been a long one. I joined the then Surrey Ambulance Service as an Ambulance Care Assistant on Patient Transport in 2005. I climbed the ranks over the years from ACA to Trainee Technician, Technician, Paramedic and then Critical Care Paramedic. I’ve always longed to learn more and develop myself, and my wife and I always wanted to move to Devon, but never thought an opportunity would arise.

When the new position was advertised it seemed like a chance to do both and we jumped at it. I went through the selection process and am thrilled to have been chosen and to be starting the next stage of my career and life in Devon with Devon Air Ambulance.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

The most rewarding aspect for me is actually two things. Firstly, it is the patients we see and being there to help them when they most need it - nothing else comes close to that. Secondly it is working with a great team who support and inspire one another to be better.

What are the most challenging aspects of your role?

The most challenging aspect is facing uncertain and critical situations. We do see sad things and often wish we could do more, but we have great support and it inspires us to be the best we can.

What are you most looking forward to about working with DAA?

I’m most looking forward to being part of the Devon Air Ambulance family. It’s a real community within the team and between DAA and the wider Devon community. It really is about the people of Devon and how we can all work together. It’s a great environment to be in. As an 'outsider' I’m also looking forward to living in and exploring Devon and all it has to offer.

Which three qualities are required of a paramedic?

I’d say three qualities needed to be a Paramedic are empathy, common sense and calmness.

What advice would you give to young people looking to follow in your footsteps?

The advice I would give is not to give up on your dreams, whatever they may be. There will be challenges and set backs along the way; I’ve had a few, but persevere and keep striving towards your goal. I never thought I’d be where I am now; it takes time, effort and hard work, but it’s worth it.

We are proud to be a charity that is independent of Government funding. 100% of our funds come from our fundraisers and supporters. This means we are very much a charity that is by and for the people of Devon. There are many ways to help keep your air ambulances flying, from fundraising, lending us your time as a volunteer, becoming one of our corporate supporters, remembering us in your will or becoming a lottery player.