Cool Sam is up for national award

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A Dunstable East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) senior call handler who stayed calm and offered vital reassurance during an upsetting 999 call has been shortlisted for a national award.

Sam Barber, based in the Bedford Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), is one of 10 finalists in UK Navigator’s Dispatcher of the Year 2018 awards.

She was shortlisted for the professionalism and compassion she showed throughout the difficult call, during which she kept a man calm and gave him instructions on performing CPR on his daughter until emergency crews arrived. Although the patient sadly could not be saved, Sam’s team leaders praised the way she handled the situation and nominated her for the award later the same day.

“I love my job,” said 27-year-old Sam, who has worked for EEAST for two-and-a-half years. “I’ve always been a caring person and really like the variety which working in the EOC brings and the feeling that you’re really helping people.

“I had mixed emotions when I found out about the award, as I still feel quite sad about the call. After the call I was given support from my team and had some counselling. Talking about what had happened was really useful and helped me to manage the emotions I was feeling.

“I always try and stay calm for the caller, offering them reassurance and concentrating on giving them clear instructions about what to do until the crew can get to them. Our role is to be that supportive voice when they are at their most vulnerable.”

The award will be presented on Tuesday (18th September) during the UK Navigator conference in Bristol.