Andy joined us at the start of this year along with six other paramedic recruits. He tells us a bit about his journey to Devon Air Ambulance. 

Growing up watching Top Gun I wanted to be a fighter pilot! But my school Careers Advisor suggested I would be more suited to a job in healthcare as a Paramedic.

I graduated as a Paramedic in 2001 and have worked for the London Ambulance service NHS Trust in a number of roles, including Emergency Care Practitioner, Practice Placement Educator and Clinical Team leader. Most recently I worked as an Advanced Paramedic Practitioner (Critical Care) and Flight Paramedic For London's Air Ambulance.

The most rewarding part of my job is spending time with patients and their families, and helping the former to recover from their illness or injury. Meeting our patients again always stands out as one of the most the most privileged aspects of our work.

The most challenging aspects of my role as a Paramedic are two fold: working alternating shifts that much of the world doesn't subscribe to means we might miss special time with our loved ones, such as birthdays. The other challenge is knowing that we can't always achieve the patient outcomes we hope for despite our best efforts. The qualities a paramedic needs to meet the various challenges are to be calm, adaptable and act as an advocate for their patients. 

I am looking forward to working for DAA as a new professional challenge in a combination of a rural and semi-urban environment. Our patients are spread over a wide geographical area and the speed of the helicopter to cover those distances ensures patients receive the care that they need, both on scene and in hospital, as quickly as possible.

To those seeking a similar career path, the advice I would give to young people would be to learn how to care for yourself so that you are better able to care for others. Also, spend time with older people; they have been there and done it before and can teach us so much if we are prepared to listen.

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.