Pharmacy student Adam responds to call for more life-saving volunteers

A Pharmacy student who provides potentially life-saving first aid in his role as a community first responder (CFR) has recruited his De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) classmates to the scheme.

Adam Baker volunteers with a scheme made up entirely of students, trained to respond to 999 calls within their local area by East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) NHS Trust.

Adam Baker main

He has helped patients experiencing cardiac arrest, stroke, diabetic emergencies and more.

"For cardiac arrest, every minute can be the difference between life and death," said Adam. "We can commence life-saving techniques where time is of the essence.

"It is so rewarding, I wanted to share it with my peers and, as we get more established, we can recruit across more subjects."

CFRs are dispatched by EMAS at the same time as conventional resources such as ambulances, however, particularly in rural and hard-to-reach areas, they have a better chance of providing immediate help.

The five new DMU Pharmacy recruits have just started their training.

"It's really interesting to bring my pharmacy background into it," said the 20-year-old from Swadlincote in Derbyshire. "At the minute we're doing the cardiovascular system and I have seen patients with deep vein thrombosis, so not only do I have knowledge of how drugs work but I have also seen them in practice."

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Adam first heard about the scheme from a family friend - but at 16 was too young to train. His grandparents became CFRs, operating from the village of Hartshorne, with Adam's fundraising efforts netting close to £10,000 to buy kit such as a defibrillator.

He responded to his first 999 call aged 18. "It is daunting when you start but it becomes second nature and doesn't faze me at all," he said. "You can't save everybody, so it's about being there for the family as well."

After moving to the city, EMAS put Adam in touch with some medical students from the University of Leicester who were setting up a new CFR scheme, whereby he became a member of the Leicester University Community First Responders (LUCFR).

LUCFR scheme co-ordinator, Stuart Evans, said: "It is great that Adam has helped the scheme to foster interprofessional team working between healthcare students in training, which will certainly prepare them for their future careers."

Adam is required to commit 200 hours a year volunteering and he attends monthly meetings and fundraising events.

"We've had a really successful first 12 months," he said.

Adam main 2

The new cohort of LUCFRs

Adam has always wanted to be a pharmacist and study at DMU.

"The staff at Open Day were so friendly and welcoming and I came to DMU for a Pharmacy masterclass," he said.

"I got an offer but my results weren't quite good enough, so I accepted a cross-offer for Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science (PCS)."

Although he "loved PCS", he was more interested in the clinical side and his first-year results enabled him to transfer course.

In addition to studying and volunteering, Adam is a school and brand ambassador and is all set for his third international experience with #DMUglobal. He has studied the effects of globalisation in The Gambia, volunteered in Vietnam and will learn about Chinese medicine in Hong Kong.

"You have to make most of it - this is one of DMU's selling points. I want to do more trips because of how well they feed into my studies," he said.

Helen Root, senior lecture in Pharmacy, added: "Adam gives back to the course, the university and Leicester.

"Hands down it will benefit him in his career. He will stand out."

To find out more about LUCFR scheme, click here.

Posted on Thursday 28th February 2019

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