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How a portfolio career is making a difference to paramedics

More and more paramedics are discovering what a positive difference a portfolio career makes to their own work-life balance as well as their patients and the wider profession.


Having a portfolio career is about having more than one role, expanding your skills, adding fresh perspectives and reducing burnout.


The College of Paramedics has produced a video to showcase their support for portfolio paramedics and the difference they make, which will be officially unveiled on International Paramedics Day – a global campaign they founded which takes place on 8 July every year.

The theme of International Paramedics Day 2024 is ‘The Difference We Make’.


The campaign brings together professionals from all over the world to celebrate the difference paramedics make to others every day, whether that’s in education, research or within the community, working in primary care, dealing with medical emergencies, supporting people’s activities or in the theatre of war. 



Tracy Nicholls, Chief Executive of the College of Paramedics, said: "Many of our portfolio paramedics speak about expanding their skills and knowledge, and of how rewarding they have found the experience of working in multiple roles.


“Of course, paramedics fulfill a wide range of roles all around the world, all of which is celebrated on 8 July at International Paramedics Day, when colleagues from many different countries will share stories about the difference they make.


“As the College of Paramedics, we are always looking to make a difference to the members we serve. 


“Over the last 12 months, we have secured Royal Charter status, successfully campaigned for a change in legislation to allow prescribing of controlled drugs by paramedic independent prescribers, launched the ParaMEdic Project, spoken out publicly against, and supported student paramedics who have experienced, sexual harassment, bullying and inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, and delivered our first manifesto, introducing key issues we need politicians and decision-makers to be aware of and work with us on to support the profession and its people.” 


Helen Sherrif is a portfolio paramedic who works as a critical care paramedic and a paramedic science lecturer at university.


She said: “I became a portfolio paramedic because I am well aware that we can experience burnout. We work long hours, we work overnight, and we sometimes experience some upsetting, traumatic, things.


“Portfolio working is a way to reduce the frequency that you are seeing potentially upsetting things, which means you’ll be able to do the job for longer.


“I really wanted to stay in the job for as long as I could, so I thought becoming a portfolio paramedic would be a really good way of maintaining my role in critical care and expanding my understanding, knowledge base and skillset in general as a paramedic.”


She added: “I feel that if I did the same single role for an extended period of time, I would become complacent, I would not push myself or keep going and keep achieving.


“When I made the move from being a full-time paramedic in the ambulance service to having two jobs, I found it relatively easy because I knew I was staying within the ambulance service, where I felt safe and secure.”


Ellie Chadwick is a prescribing paramedic practitioner in a GP surgery and within the ambulance service.


She said: “Paramedics don’t just have to work in ambulances anymore. You can stay, if you want, but if not, the opportunities are endless.”


Jo Gardner is a paramedic practitioner and a paramedic science lecturer at university. She said: “Becoming a portfolio paramedic has really developed me and developed skills that I didn’t have a chance to use in the ambulance service, more clinical skills within a different setting but then also at the university, a chance to develop some new skills in education and lecturing.”


Adam Booth is combining work as a paramedic with being director of an international medical repatriation company.


He said: “The attraction of having multiple roles using the paramedic training that I have gives me a real range of opportunities and enables me to use lots of different skills in different settings.”


Meg Jadzinksi wears multiple hats; she is a paramedic, senior university practice earning advisor, an HCPC registrant panellist and a PHD student.


She said: “Moving from a full-time paramedic into a portfolio paramedic, where I had multiple roles slowly increased over time.


“First of all, I went into an academic role alongside my clinical role and then as they progressed, I was able to add additional roles to that.”


To find out more about the College of Paramedics, visit: www.collegeofparamedics.co.uk and to learn more about the third International Paramedics Day on 8 July, visit: www.internationalparamedicsday.com


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