Last month we hosted our first ever Paramedic Assessment Days. Held over three weekends, 64 candidates were put through their paces in a series of tests designed to test their knowledge, skills and leadership.

The Paramedic Assessment Days were an overwhelming success and will go down in the our history. They marked the half way point in a year long recruitment process which will end on 1st October when the paramedics join Thames Valley Air Ambulance.

Six months ago we advertised the roles as part of our move towards the planned new operating model from October 2018. This model will allow greater opportunity for expansion of our vital emergency service across Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

We had an incredible response to the adverts with 108 applications in just a few weeks.

Our CEO, Amanda, was delighted with the success of the Assessment Days, “It’s an incredibly exciting process for the charity and really shows how we have grown. We attracted applicants from all over the country and we can’t wait for the successful paramedics to join the team.”

WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A THAMES VALLEY AIR AMBULANCE PARAMEDIC

The Paramedic Assessment Days were split up into four demanding tests which focused on all skills needed to join the crew.

Objective Structure Clinical Examination (OSCE)

The candidates were challenged to deal with a scenario of someone falling from a building. Real-life actors played the roles of passers-by and family members to test the candidates’ communication, leadership, teamwork and situational awareness.

Fitness Test

Candidates were tested on their fitness, an essential part of being a Thames Valley Air Ambulance crew member. They were tasked to complete a bleep test, carry our extremely heavy response bags and bulky extra equipment for 400 metres in under four minutes, before performing CPR for two minutes.

Written exam

Candidates sat a written exam to test their medical and practical knowledge. The exam included anatomy and physiology questions and which drugs to use in certain scenarios.

Formal interview

Our Director of Operations and Head of Clinical Services conducted interviews and asked the candidates a series of competency-based questions.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES?

After the gruelling Paramedic Assessment Days, the successful candidates will start an intense six week induction programme including training on driving, equipment and clinical training. The induction programme will give the paramedics the knowledge, practical skills and management tools to operate as part of the Thames Valley Air Ambulance pre-hospital critical care team.

As a charity, we are proud to push the boundaries of pre-hospital emergency medicine. Whilst the helicopter grabs the attention of the public, it is the expertise of the crew which make the difference at the roadside. They can perform advanced medical procedures at the scene of an incident, that would normally only be possible in a hospital.