Lewis (LQ) joined Team NWAS in 2015 as a full-time practice-based educator in our Education and Training Team. Lewis keeps connected to his emergency practice by also working shifts on the road as a qualified emergency medical technician (EMT).
Gene (GQ) joined the ambulance service in 2005 and was the first direct entry paramedic into the then-Merseyside Regional Ambulance Service and has enjoyed many roles within his career. Gene has recently moved roles from interim head of service for Cheshire and Merseyside to interim head of service for Cumbria and Lancashire. Many ambulance crew colleagues will see Gene doing the job they do as he is a qualified paramedic and also works a shift on the road each month in addition to his responsibilities as head of service.
What do you like about your roles?
LQ – It’s being with the new learners, helping them to build on their clinical knowledge in an emergency setting and seeing them put it into practice. I act as an extra arm of support – a terribly exciting and daunting thing all at the same time.
In terms of being an EMT, I consider it a privilege to do the work that we do as we help people at their most vulnerable moments. I’m now pursuing further training to become a paramedic, but the EMT experience as a foundation for pursuing paramedic training is incontrovertible!
GQ – I love working with our teams across the organisation to provide support for all. As a paramedic doing my best for patients, but also seeing how all the varied parts of NWAS connect to enable us to deliver our services.
What can be tough about your role?
LQ – The notion that I can’t be with every learner all at once, as much as I would like to be! So much of my role involves making sure that learners have the right support and so I reinforce this as much as I possibly can.
GQ – Decisions can sometimes be tough, you have to consider lots of competing demands on the situation you are faced with and manage any unintended consequences. So taking time to sit and think through complex matters at times when we are dealing with high levels of activity/demand is really key to making good decisions.
Do you ever get to work together on anything or see each other on duty?
LQ – We have worked together twice! One was an interesting shift in the heart of Liverpool when I first was on the road. Gene was my boss and I felt really nervous as I wanted my emergency response driving to be good! The second time I was much more relaxed as we worked together to provide emergency cover at a football match.
From my perspective it has been a really wonderful thing to see how much respect Gene has as a clinician on the road. He was a clinical mentor first and foremost and he takes that with him wherever he goes and in whatever role he operates within. Gene has predominantly worked in Cheshire and Merseyside throughout his career and I am based in Cumbria and Lancashire which has meant we have seen less of each other in work. However with Gene’s new position as interim head of service for Cumbria and Lancashire, our paths may cross a little more!
GQ – Communication plays such a big part of teamwork between crews. Working with my brother is ace, I know from a look or expression if something isn’t right or if he needs something. I enjoy working with family members and I’m sure now we’re in the same area of the North West, we will team up again.
Did you both always want to join the ambulance service?
LQ – No. I had a life before in education and training in performing and singing; I have sung in America, Europe, and the UK. I am an operatic tenor and so get to sing all of the romantic/heroic roles which I love. I often used my singing skills on the back of an ambulance where older people are not afraid to tell me how much they do not like it, which keeps me humble! It is a wonderful vocation that I can no longer see my life without.
GQ – I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do when I left school, other than being a wildlife filmmaker! I found myself qualifying as a paramedic in the Royal Navy and it felt a natural progression to join the ambulance service when I left the armed forces. I have loved all my roles in the ambulance service since the first day I joined and I would advocate NWAS as a brilliant employer.