Paramedic celebrates 20 years in her dream job
In the midst of a global pandemic, one of our Derbyshire paramedics is celebrating 20 years in the ambulance service.
Samantha Westwell, Ambulance Operations Manager for Derbyshire has been with East Midlands Ambulance Service since 25 April 2000, after following her lifelong dream to become a paramedic.
Samantha has had her sights set firmly on her dream job from a young age, joining St John Ambulance as a Nursing Cadet aged 10, and then EMAS’ Patient Transport Services (PTS) at the age of 21.
Samantha spent eight months in PTS based in Stapleford, Nottinghamshire learning invaluable skills which would support in her further career. In January 2001, Samantha then moved on to train as a technician in one of only three courses that EMAS ran at the time - all the way up in Mersey Regional Hospital in Liverpool..
As a trainee technician, Samantha was based at Raynesway in Derbyshire, moving away from her native Nottinghamshire. Albeit daunting, the county holds some of Samantha’s best memories over the last 20 years.
She said: “In my time spent at Raynesway, I met some really lovely people and made some great friends. Moving into a new division really opened my eyes to EMAS and it taught me a lot.
“It also holds one of my most memorable moments during my time as a technician. Myself and a colleague were called to a job at a chicken factory and as we were attending to the patient, we noticed we were surrounded by chicken feet!
“With my more experienced crewmate gagging at the sight, I had to step up and take control of the situation. That will always stick in my mind because it was so surreal.”
After four and a half years, Samantha made the step up to become a paramedic and moved back into the Nottinghamshire division where she became a paramedic team leader, attending more strange incidents such as delivering a baby in the car park outside our Nottinghamshire Headquarters, and living out her dream job.
Samantha was later appointed Locality Manager which saw her EMAS journey coming full circle bring her back to Derbyshire, where she remains to this day as Ambulance Operations Manager.
In the last twenty years, Samantha has not only seen her life change within the trust, but also in her own personal life. She became the first woman’s champion at the velodrome in Derby in 2016, was seconded to London Ambulance Service as venue commander at the London 2012 Olympics, got married and had her daughter Holly.
Working her way up the EMAS ladder, Samantha, as an Ambulance Operations Manager has been heavily involved in projects which have transformed the county of Derbyshire and the service provided for their residents.
Most recently she has worked on the project to bring in mutual aid from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue to help with the current COVID pandemic, but her biggest achievement during this time is her work on transforming Swadlincote Station into a joint facility for Fire and Ambulance.
She said: “This project has not only made such a difference to the staff and improved working relationships between services, but also made a huge and recognisable difference to the community.”
Samantha says she can’t believe where the 20 years have gone but, in that time, she has learnt some valuable life lessons which will stay with her wherever the next 20 years takes her.
She said: “This job has helped me realise my own resilience and strength. If there is anything I have learnt in these twenty years at EMAS, it has been always to set a goal to work towards and to not give up in the face of difficulty. There has been many highs and lows but that hasn’t stopped me achieving what I’ve set out to do.”
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