ASSISTANT professor and qualified paramedic Steph Coles is preparing for Christmas on the NHS frontline in Coventry – now the academic term has ended.
Before the pandemic Steph and fellow colleague Shelley Evatt worked one day a week for West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) but as their students volunteered to take on ambulance care assistant roles, the pair also increased their hours, with Steph now working three days a week as a paramedic.
Steph will continue to help in the battle against coronavirus over the festive period alongside her students – after recovering from Covid-19 herself in March.
She said: “I wanted to provide support to the Service and, as cheesy as it sounds, I wanted to be out there supporting the students too in these unprecedented times.
“It was a sense of duty and it does keep you going knowing you are making a difference.
“When I first came out of the service to take a full-time role at Coventry University, I was conscious that I did not want to have my finger off the pulse for too long.
“I think it gives you credibility. Before the pandemic being out on the road one day a week, in my normal time, was a lot about going back into practice to support the students.
“I have worked with a few of them in their care assistant roles during Covid and they have made us all proud. They’ve shown excellent resilience during these times and this is a quality and experience that will support their future career as paramedics.”
Earlier this year Steph battled the virus. She said: “I was quite poorly with Covid-19. I had three weeks of being symptomatic – severe headache, a temperature, sore throat. We are still going out and doing the job even though the risks are there.
“The public need to keep following the guidelines and keep each other safe. They need to wear masks in public places but they should not be afraid of going to hospital if they have chest pains or if they have developed signs of a stroke. We are still treating emergencies and it is important that people seek help when they need it, don’t leave it too late because you are afraid of Covid.”