When you think of a paramedic’s career, the immediate thought tends to be of sirens and flashing lights. However Joanne is a very different type of emergency responder – a Forensic Paramedic! Here she tells us a bit about her experience working in custody environments with CRG Medical Services in Essex.
“I joined Essex ambulance service in 2004, and took my paramedic course in 2009. Before starting with CRG Medical Services I also spent some time carrying out PIP assessments for Department of Work and Pensions.”
Many of our staff come from NHS backgrounds, be that in the ambulance service, community nursing or A&E type environments.
Joanne was drawn to the role because of the variation in workload and the forensic side of the role.
“My role is to look after the medical needs of police, staff and detained persons. I also need to carry out forensic examinations, and obtain blood samples for offences like drug/drink driving.
At the start of my shift I carry out the daily checks of drugs and equipment. I then prioritise the order of detained persons who need to be seen and carry out the assessments. The day will include issuing medication if needed and sending referrals to other agencies to give support to the DP.
I have a really good working relationship with the police and staff, so when time allows a cuppa always goes down well!”
A cuppa is certainly well deserved after a day of working in a custody environment, which Joanne told us is a varied job where no two days are the same!
“The forensic side of this role was new to me, so learning the guidelines and procedures was a big challenge. We most commonly have to deal with alcohol or drug withdrawal, or mental health concerns.”
Working in custody can be challenging, but it’s a challenge that our staff rise to, and can be incredibly gratifying – “The most rewarding part of this role is being able to help people access the right help for their needs.”
As many of our other staff’s blogs have highlighted, there are a lot of misconceptions about custody healthcare – Joanne told us that a lot of people that come into custody after being arrested are not aggressive or abusive to staff, which is great to hear.
Interested in working in a custody or forensic environment? Joanne told us the most important personality traits to have in the role are “Confidence in your own skills and knowledge, and being able to communicate with people in a sometimes stressful situation…. Working in this environment has taught me to have confidence in my own knowledge and know when to ask for guidance.”
During her days off, Joanne enjoys spending time with her daughter.
Are you a paramedic interested in working in a custody or forensic environment? Check out our latest custody healthcare jobs on our job search or email your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.