Lancaster University student supports NHS as Covid-19 trained St John Ambulance first aider

Lancaster University student Rhiannon Bates is helping the NHS during the Covid-19 crisis as a first aider with the St John Ambulance unit in Lancaster.

By Michelle Blade
Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 3:26 pm
Lancaster University student Rhiannon Bates who is helping the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic as a first aider with the St John Ambulance unit in Lancaster.
Lancaster University student Rhiannon Bates who is helping the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic as a first aider with the St John Ambulance unit in Lancaster.

Rhiannon, 22, who is a Biomedical and Life Sciences student, joined the Lancaster University First Aid Society before volunteering with the charity where she qualified as a frst aider.

She said: “Within a month, the Covid-19 pandemic broke out. In the following weeks, the UK entered lockdown – meaning that events such as festivals and football matches, where I would typically have helped St John provide first aid cover, were cancelled.

"As part of its plan to support the NHS in the fight against the virus, St John Ambulance provided volunteers with the unique chance of attending a Covid-19 specific training course, which I did.

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“This allowed me to work alongside NHS staff and St John volunteers at Tameside Hospital in both the A&E department and some wards.

"The St John volunteers take the pressure off staff by doing patient observations, helping patients eat and drink and generally interacting with them when the nurses are too busy.

"Everything from working their bedside television to discussions about cats has happened during my time on the wards and getting to know patients like this is a privilege.”

Rhiannon began volunteering after both her final exams were cancelled and the NHS laboratory she worked with had a reduced workload.

She said: “So far working with St John is greatly rewarding. To be able to come home and know I have both learned something new and helped to make even a small difference in my local community is a great feeling.

"I am happy to put my time and effort into something so productive and rewarding and the public recognising the charity as a body there to help makes me proud to wear the uniform.”

Rhiannon plans to work for the NHS after graduation either in a clinical or laboratory role.