Sunderland student paramedic proves a real lifesaver

Student of the Year Amy O'Hara.
Student of the Year Amy O'Hara.

A young Sunderland student has scooped an award for her cool head and dedication to patient care.

Amy O’Hara, a student paramedic with The University of Sunderland, was named the North East Ambulance Service’s Student of the Year.

I didn’t feel like I did anything special. I was just doing my job

Amy O’Hara

The 24-year-old is working with the NEAS during her studies.

NEAS’s annual Beyond the Call of Duty Awards recognise outstanding contributions of employees and volunteers who embody the trust’s vision of ‘Unmatched quality of care for every life we touch’.

Paramedic Adam Higginbottom nominated Amy for the way she dealt with an incident where a woman was in mental health crisis out of hours.

She immediately recognised that Accident and Emergency was not the most appropriate place and called round a number of teams until she found the right professional health care for her patient.

Recognising the patient’s husband was also struggling, Amy also ensured he received additional support to look after his wife.

Adam was impressed with how Amy handled the situation, particularly that she saw the whole job through without giving up and passing the job on to the senior paramedic.

Amy said: “To this day I still can’t believe I was nominated and went on to win the award. I didn’t feel like I did anything special, I was just doing my job as other people would.

“Being a paramedic has always been my dream.”

The Student of the Year award recognises a rising star within the NHS, someone who shows clear potential for the future.

NEAS Chief Executive, Yvonne Ormston, said: “Amy, like all of our worthy winners, truly embodies our values of responding to the needs of individuals and treating patients and colleagues with compassion, care, dignity and respect.

“She has a bright career ahead of her and we look forward to welcoming her back full-time as a paramedic when she qualifies.”

Victoria Duffy, Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer in Clinical Skills in the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing, said: “Amy was one of our first recruits to the Diploma of Higher Education in Paramedic Practice and is a shining example of good humour, dedication and hard work.

“We are very proud of all our NEAS student paramedics and it is a testament to Amy and her excellent patient care skills that she has won this award.

“I’m sure she will continue to touch many patients’ lives in a positive way.”