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Celebrating our Black and Minority Ethnic Allied Health Professionals - Meet Ioney

An image of paramedic IoneyWhat is your Allied Health Professional (AHP) profession?

I am a paramedic.

What is your heritage? What is your Allied Health Professional (AHP) profession?

My heritage is mixed - White British/Black Caribbean.

How did you get into this profession? What subjects/courses did you do at school/college? What support/encouragement did you have to follow this career?

At college I studied a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in Health and Social care, a BTEC National Diploma in Healthcare, and a NVQ in Care which allowed me to be accepted into university to undertake a higher education diploma in Paramedic Science.

During my education I had lots of encouragement from my family and a fantastic college tutor who challenged me and supported my career choice.

What influenced your choice of profession?

I’ve always wanted to work within the care/medical sector. My four aunties were all nurses and inspired me with their care and compassion for their work.

How easy was it to onto a training programme? What were your thoughts before and after starting the course? Did you face any challenges and how did you overcome them?

Many years ago, when I started my training programme to become a paramedic there were limited routes to train. The only way to become a paramedic was via the ambulance service and it was essential to work your way from patient transport assistant / ambulance technician to paramedic. There was also great competition to get into the ambulance service. I was lucky enough for a new direct way to become a paramedic by training at university whilst working in a technician role. I was one of many to take the first course at Sheffield Hallam University.

What is your current role? What does a typical day look like? What do you love about your role? What would you like to change?

I have recently been given some fantastic opportunities with Leeds Community Healthcare (LCH) and I am now seconded as a Clinical fellow and a Patient Safety Manager in Clinical Governance.

In my Clinical fellow role, I am currently working on various projects which are enabling me to develop my leadership skills and exposing me to the operations of the wider NHS. I have oversight of patient safety incidents within LCH and have had the privilege of taking part of processes that enable us to keep our patients and staff safe.   

What are your career aspirations? What has been your career path to date? What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

From college I built on my experience in care, firstly by completing an apprenticeship in care, then as a neurorehabilitation support worker. Following training, I started as a paramedic in 2005 and I have worked most of my time as a paramedic in the back of an ambulance! Following this I worked in police custody as a healthcare professional.

The challenges I faced was initially getting onto the training programme, as there was so much competition. I had applied numerous times to get into the ambulance service but was unsuccessful. University was very challenging as I was one of the first people studying the course. My age and ethnic minority background were also challenged, as there were few paramedics in the field of a young age and from a minority background at that time.

I overcame these by breaking down those stereotypes, having open and honest conversations with others, and by also providing the best possible care to my patients. I am not sure what the future holds but patient care, quality and safety will always be at the forefront in whatever role I go on to! 

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