Plaudits for NARU instructor Donna Hay as she returns to Trust

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Donna Hay, NEAS and NARU Instructor

The NARU Education Centre’s Donna Hay is returning to the North East Ambulance Service after two years spent as an Instructor at Winterbourne Gunner.

Her line manager Chris Hewett, NARU Training Manager says: “In her time with the NARU Education Centre, Donna has stamped her mark on a number of vital pieces of work, including the IRU Assurance programme, BA and USAR training. She has a wide range of skills and depth of knowledge in a number of specialist areas, and delivers her training in an energetic and irreplaceable style.

“She has been a key member of the team – in both work and play – and we are sad to lose her.  However we know that delivering training is such a passion for her so she will continue to make a massive contribution to staff development when she returns to her home unit.”

Head of Education David Bull QAM backed up Chris’s sentiments saying “Donna has worked hard to deliver a wide range of modules, the high tempo of delivery has been maintained through her enthusiasm and diligence. I wish her all the best for the future and thank her for going that extra mile to ensure that the patient remained the core focus of courses.”

NARU e-News asked Donna about her time with NARU:

When did you come here?
I originally came to work for NARU at Winterbourne Gunner in January 2012 for a 3 month secondment to assist on IRU. I ended up staying for 6 months until June 2012. I enjoyed my time at NARU so much I re-applied for the Instructor post and was lucky enough to come back down for a second secondment in September 2012.

What were your main roles at NARU?
One of my main roles was to lead on the delivery of the HART Assurance Courses in which we have been successful in delivering to over 400 HART staff. These courses are short, fast paced and can be challenging. I have been lucky enough to work with a close and focused faculty who have supported me throughout the good and not so good times, for that I will always remember.

DonnaHayI have been involved in teaching on many IRU courses which I completely enjoy. Staff coming fresh into HART with a willingness and enthusiasm to learn can be completely invigorating to be involved with.

My most challenging but pleasurable role was that of National USAR Course Lead based at the Fire Service College at Moreton. What can I say? Tunnel systems, confined spaces and rubble piles are my babies. Strange lady some might say? This is one of the parts I will miss the most following my departure back to the North East.

What skills did you develop and what challenges did you face?
I have been lucky enough to complete a number of courses including a CR1 instructor at Ryton, PRPS Instructor, Radiation Protection Supervisor and SWAH Instructor at Outreach, and my favourite role of BA Instructor. Working for NARU has really helped me broaden my skills base and develop my own personal and professional skills, particularly in the areas above.

When I first started working for NARU I recall feeling like the little lost girl from the North who had accidently got lost and ended up South. I remember teaching on one of my first IRU courses to a group of Welsh and South East Coast Students. I recall half way through the lecture looking around and realising I had a room full of blank, staring faces. I quickly realised not a soul could understand my fast paced Geordie Accent. I learned very rapidly to adapt my accent otherwise my career South was going to be very short lived. However the accent quickly returns after a long weekend at home.

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What were the most enjoyable things and what will you never forget?
Where do I start? There are so many memories I could write for ages. Although it sounds like a cliché, I have absolutely loved working with a wide range of people from various trusts and other organisations. I am in the very lucky position to say I have worked with HART managers / training managers, HART Team Leaders and Operatives from every Trust in England and Wales. I know that I am in the unique position to be able to pick up the phone, dial any team around the country and speak to someone I know for advice or just a chat. How great is that?

My trip to Virginia Beach USA on an international CT exercise, working alongside the FBI was a trip I can never forget. However my colleagues at NARU know I don’t like to talk too much about that or show my vast slide show of the trip on a regular basis! What an amazing time to reflect back upon.

Interviewing for patients for exercise Amber was very surreal. ‘Can you act like a happy goat and allow me to film you?’ Another typical week in the life of a NARU Instructor.

I also can’t forget the close working relationships I have formed with my colleagues. We not only work together, eat together but we socialise together too. There is never a dull or boring moment here at Winterbourne Gunner. It has not always been a bed of roses and I have definitely grown more than a few grey hairs and the odd wrinkle but what amazing memories I have. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

tt3What has your secondment given you that will be useful in your future career?
As mentioned, I have acquired a number of instructor qualifications which I previously may not have had the opportunity to gain. These will be really useful when I return to my North East Team. Aside from the above qualifications I have had a number of fantastic opportunities and experiences from attending various conferences and National Training events, to meeting and forming worthwhile relationships with various organisations, all I hope will help in any future career path I choose.

Working for NARU has made me very much aware of the different opportunities which are out there as long as you are prepared to seek them you will get to where you want to be. I am looking forward to the future in a big way. Who knows what it may hold, what I do know for definite is my time with NARU has made me not afraid to find out. For that I will always be grateful. My new favourite quote of the moment is: “Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened” Dr. Seuss.

On behalf of NARU Donna, we thank you for your commitment and wish you all the best for your future career.