- Rewarding work driving those who are experiencing health problems to hospital
- People-focused, and requires good driving and communication skills
- May involve weekend and evening work
As an ambulance care assistant, you'll spend your time driving patients to and from their hospital appointments, and sometimes to outpatient clinics, day centres and care homes.
- Helping patients out of their home and into the ambulance (it may involve lifting)
- Helping patients settle back home after their appointments
- Using a radio to keep in touch with the ambulance control room
- Checking and maintaining the ambulance and its equipment
- Keeping accurate records of journeys
You may deal with elderly people, people with a physical disability or mental health problem. You may also transport people who are seriously ill with specific medical needs. You will usually work in shifts that might include evenings, weekends and bank holidays.
You may work alone or in a two person team, in a car or in an adapted ambulance. You'll spend a lot of time driving in one area. The work can be physically and emotionally demanding. You'll wear a uniform and protective clothing.
You'll need excellent driving skills, a strong sense of empathy and good physical fitness. You can apply directly for these jobs. You'll need to have had a full, manual driving licence that covers the right vehicles for your local ambulance service for at least twelve months, and be able to navigate your area well. You'll also need to pass enhanced background checks as you will be working with vulnerable people. Some ambulance services may want up to 4 GCSEs including English, maths and a science.
You could get into this job through an advanced apprenticeship as an ambulance support worker.
You may have an advantage if you've worked or volunteered in a health or social care role. You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for advice about this.
First aid work would also be useful, for example with St John Ambulance or the British Red Cross.
With experience, you could become a team leader or supervisor. You could also become an emergency care assistant or apply to be a student paramedic.
You could also move into personnel, training, health and safety, or operations management.