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Ello update

If you’ve heard of Ello then I guess you’re probably in the minority. It’s a social network which is unapologetically minimalist and ad-free. I’ve been on there for a while, posting very occasionally. Anyway, this is all by the by. The point of this post is to replicate what I’ve just put on Ello, because by the time I’d finished writing it I realised that it’d make a half decent blog post (especially since I haven’t blogged since the signing of the Maastricht Treaty). So, without further ado, this is what I published on Ello:


Last time I posted I talked about exciting times ahead, that I couldn’t talk about because they were Top Sekrit(TM). Well that time has passed (and if you’re on Facebook then you’ll be aware of this already).

I am leaving my job at the University of Nottingham to join East Midlands Ambulance Service as a Trainee Ambulance Technician.

I’ve wanted to join the ambulance service for about 3.5 years, but I’ve never believed that I could afford the change (it’s a huge pay cut). The Ambulance Technician job was advertised in January and I decided that I had to apply for it to see where it went. During the application process, my wife secured a new job which pays significantly more than what she’s being paid now. I think we might be able to make this work!

So it’s happening! It’s actually bloody happening! I start with the ambulance service on August the 3rd. I’ve been studying already so that I can have some sort of advantage when I get there. It’s utterly terrifying, because I’ll be making decisions which may have a significant impact on someone’s health, but I’m really excited about it.

I’ll try to keep Ello up-to-date about the process. Hopefully it’ll be useful to others. Right now I’ve had a verbal job offer but nothing in writing. I’m waiting to hear from them about an appointment with Occupational Health for my medical & first round of vaccinations. I’m also waiting to see a contract. In the mean time, I’ve handed in my notice at work! I’ve got the theory test for my C1 licence on the 13th. That consists of 100 theory questions and a hazard perception test.

The theory test is a little frustrating. I’m going for the C1 category, which is for vehicles between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes (the standard category B licence covers vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes) but the theory test is geared around the category C licence, which includes vehicles over 7.5 tonnes. That means that, in order to drive an ambulance, I need to know things like what order to connect air hoses to an articulated lorry, what the fifth wheel mechanism is and why you should drain the air tanks for your braking system daily. None of these are in any way relevant to driving what is effectively a heavy transit van. But it’s something that needs to be done, so my plan is to study and pass the theory test and then basically forget all the irrelevant stuff.

Theory test aside, I’ve been reading The ECG Made Easy, which was recommended to me by a couple of paramedics I know. I’m just over half way through it. I can’t claim to be anything approaching an expert, but it has massively improved my understanding of the fundamentals of 12 lead ECGs. The squiggly lines mean slightly more to me than they did before.

So there we have it. It’s happening. It’s actually bloody happening! I’m a bit stunned about it all, really. At the end of last year I never thought it would happen. I talked a lot about being prepared for when the opportunity arose (I called it The Commander Hadfield Approach, which makes sense if you’ve read his autobiography) but I never really believed it would happen. But it is happening. Assuming nothing critical happens, I’ll be a fully fledged ambulance crew member before the year is out. I can’t wait.


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