“Call taking is an incredibly difficult job under stressful circumstances. However, Sam and Natasha do it with a smile on their face. They are a credit to the Emergency Medical Dispatching profession and to Wellington Free.” - Kate Jennings, Communication Centre Manager
Sam was nominated for the Emergency Medical Dispatcher of the Year award along with fellow Wellington Free Ambulance emergency dispatcher Natasha Willis. This is the third year in a row Natasha has been nominated.
The award recognises individuals who consistently go above and beyond to provide exemplary customer service while following the strict protocols and guidelines needed to keep people safe.
Wellington Free 111 Communications Centre Manager Kate Jennings says Sam couldn’t be more deserving.
“He epitomises what it takes to be a great call taker and dispatcher. He is warm, caring, passionate and professional, and still manages to keep his sense humour.
“Sam has the ability to stay calm no matter what the situation, even when it’s something he’s never come across before. He makes that human connection that gives every caller the sense that they are the only person in the world right now that matters,” Kate Jennings says.
Sam has worked for Wellington Free for over four years, and started out as a trainee call taker while studying for his paramedic degree.
In the communication centre, Sam is known as the ‘go to’ person for advice by his colleagues.
“Being nominated, and then winning the award was a very pleasing and humbling experience. I am honoured to be put in the same calibre as others who have won the award.
“It is a collective win for Wellington Free. I am just one piece of a very large puzzle that works hard to work for our community. And I want to acknowledge Natasha , too. She works just as hard at what’s a really tough job.”
Natasha says being nominated for IAED Dispatcher of the Year Award three years in a row is “pretty cool”.
“It keeps me motivated and encourages me to keep doing well.
“It’s nice to have that recognition that I’m actually helping people, and I am proud of what I do. It’s hard work but I get a lot of satisfaction out of it.”
Kate Jennings says being a call taker is no easy job and the whole team should be very proud.
“Every call arrives as just a beep in your ear. You hear that beep and know you could be faced with any one of a million scenarios. It could be something mundane, or the worst call of your life.”
Kate says that everyone has had something that stays with them – a call might remind them of their own child or a nan, yet they stay calm, give reassurance, and follow protocols.
“Call taking is an incredibly difficult job under stressful circumstances. However, Sam and Natasha do it with a smile on their face.
“They are a credit to the Emergency Medical Dispatching profession and to Wellington Free.”