Feeling unwell or injured? Make sure you choose the right service.
Peter Brown
Healthcare assistant

We’re much more autonomous as HCAs in the emergency department, mostly due to the demands placed on us as a team every day from cut hands, to broken hips and cardiac arrest. It’s a different environment to any ward, it’s incredibly fast-paced and a great place to gain lots of life experience.

I started at Addenbrooke’s about three years ago while I was still a student at Anglia Ruskin. My degree is in public service, so joining the ED gave me the best possible chance to learn about exactly what goes on here.

The team here is incredibly multi-skilled – we have to be so that we can deal with whatever comes through the front door. As an emergency HCA I deal directly with injured patients, so it’s a bit more graphic than a typical ward role. I work side by side with consultants and other senior clinical staff, as well, so I’m constantly learning valuable lessons that could come in handy later on. It’s very much a level playing field here.

There’s lots of scope for development in the ED because of how wide-ranging the role is, but it is challenging, physically and emotionally. You have to be able to maintain a good character regardless of the situation, and remember that a lot of the people who turn up here are tired, distraught and not always in the best of moods.

It’s a fantastic place to learn, though. You’ll pick up plenty of life lessons and clinical knowledge and if you let it, it will give you so much.