Our clients know Sarah Smith as the safest pair of hands you can find as our Head of Service Management, but alongside her full-time, senior management team role with Astro, Sarah has been doing something incredible to help us all. In her downtime she has re-trained as a vaccinator with St John’s Ambulance. We can’t thank Sarah, and all the other amazing volunteers who are helping with the roll out of the vaccine, for all they are doing to help us. Here’s a Q&A with Sarah to find out more.
What motivated you to do it?
A friend of mine (who also works full time) has taken on a second job as a booking agent to get patients booked in for their COVID vaccine. She also mentioned that they were looking for vaccinators and the requirements were that you need to have a minimum of 2 A Levels in any subject in order to apply, which I do have, so I looked into it. I thought if I have the skillset to be able to help get this process moving a bit quicker, I’m all for signing up to see if I’m eligible – and I am!
How was the training?
The training was a lot tougher than I anticipated! 30 exams for a variety of diseases and processes. I had massively underestimated how medical the training would be; it was very interesting to read up on though. The practical was a full on, 8 hour day with 60 other people – it was very strange being around that many people in the current situation! It was all managed very well from a social distancing/PPE perspective though.
There are a few generic exams such as Manual Handling, Fire Marshall and Health and Safety. There are also the NHS exams which were heavily medical. The majority of them were around childhood immunisations and the scheduling of those which I wasn’t expecting.
The practical training was carried out at a location by Stanstead Airport and was around Health and Safety and Basic Life support as well as administering the vaccination. It was a tough day but was very interesting J
How are you finding it?
There has been such a positive response that they have been overwhelmed with applications. They are currently working through the back-log so I am still waiting for the final paperwork to go through. I should be hearing back very soon once I have been allocated a Volunteer Lead (acting line manager) and will then be allocated a clinic and away I go!
How can others get involved?
St John’s are still looking for Volunteers for a variety of roles to help out with the vaccination process. The following link takes you to the website for more information.