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Introducing graduate intern – Sam Shepherd

This month we checked in with new Graduate Sam Shepherd to find out what he’s been up to on his first six months on the road.

16 April 2019

Sam clearly remembers the moment he got the call saying Wellington Free Ambulance wanted him.

“It was such a wave of relief and excitement. Although I have so much learning and hard work ahead of me, it doesn’t worry me because I have the security of knowing that I will be working hard for something that I absolutely love and find extremely interesting every single day,” Sam says.

“In that sense the hard work isn’t even hard work at all.”

Sam volunteered as an event medic with Wellington Free at the end of 2017 but started fulltime on the road with Blue Shift last November.

“It’s certainly been a big adjustment getting stuck in to full time front line work, tiring but I have loved it.”

During the last few months, Sam explains he’s had the opportunity to really make a difference.

“There are the scarier situations involving sick children. Nothing makes the heart race more than coming across a grey, floppy two day old child or having to pick up and carry a really sick 10-year-old. Thankfully both these patients made good recoveries.

“One of more memorable moments was helping a scared 18-year-old discuss how he was feeling alone, helpless and suicidal. Over the course of half an hour we were able to convince him that all hope was not lost, there were many avenues of help and support, and eventually he was happy to come with us and get his journey started towards recovery.” Says Sam.

Nothing feels better than starting with a patient who has lost all hope, and leaving them with a smile on their face and some renewed faith Sam notes.

That said not all situations are the same and Sam says he’s quickly learnt that this job has some jarring ups and downs, “but the ups most definitely make the downs worth it” he says.

Sam says he’s full of heart with those older patients who just need a check over and a good old chat. “I do love a cup of tea and spinning a couple of yarns.”

Sam recalls a special moment he had with an elderly lady who appeared to be quite lonely. She discovered they were both from small towns very close to each other in Wales and her reaction was priceless and heart-warming.

Being there for everyone is important to Sam, regardless of the situation.

“We recently went to a patient who had a congenital disorder and had called because he could not get to sleep. After lengthy discussion we found that the main issue was that his father was out of the house which had thrown his routine out of order. We made him a hot chocolate, turned on the heating, made his bed, tucked him in and waited until he had fallen asleep.”

“There’s plenty of work that although it wouldn’t be considered an emergency to some, it is still a significant event to the individual and therefore is fulfilling to help make a big difference in their world.”

Sam’s team on Blue Shift could not have been more welcoming since starting on the road, making him feel comfortable and at home – not to mention they always have a lot of fun.

“Dayna Sutherland is also one of the nicest people I’ve met; she is full of wisdom and an excellent preceptor. She keeps things relaxed while at the same time downloading her huge supply of knowledge.

“I think we spend equal amounts of time having deep complex clinical discussions as we do bent over in hysterics. I couldn’t have asked for a better preceptor to start with in my grad program and I hope we get to work together plenty more in the future.”