I have just got home from one of the most challenging days of my life.
HEMS selection days are widely accepted to be rather brutal. They have a large number of potentially suitable candidates and only small number of positions. Simply higher the ratio of candidates to positions the higher they can set the bar. It certainly was challenging on almost every level you can think of; physically, mentally, intellectuality and of course clinically.
Before I go any further, I should say that I didn’t make it. I’m not going to be putting on a orange jump suit and flying across the skies. I lasted through all of day one which is longer than quite a few people lasted. I was quite pleased with my performance and I got some very constructive feedback from the assessors who concluded that if it hadn’t been for my fitness letting me down I would have easily made it to day two. I can cope with this. I knew my fitness, or rather lack of it was going to be an issue. I didn’t however want to turn down the opportunity of competing. We didn’t get the exact specifics of the fitness test until we had been short-listed for the assessment weekend. If I had got this at the time I was applying I don’t think I would have applied as I knew there wasn’t a chance I could get up to the standard within a month. I’m glad I applied. I’m glad I had the chance to do the assessments.
I have had a lot of my mind recently. I have also had a very busy, stressful and tiring two weeks. Driving home this evening what I was feeling more than anything was relief. I’ve been so very stressed, cranky and probably unpleasant to be around during these last few weeks, and in particular yesterday that I am just very glad that I can get back to my normal level of stress which most of the time I am quite good at dealing with. Notice I said most of the time.
For those of you who read this who want to do HEMS sooner or later. If you can’t pass the RAF aircrew fitness test then you had better get training. It is far more brutal than the ambulance service fitness test, and the examiners are nothing less than what you would expect from a military fitness instructor.
Will I go for HEMS again. Yes I would still like to do it. I now know first hand what is expected as part of the selection process. Will I be applying next year? Possibly but then possibly not. I am determined not to let my fitness be a factor in whether I apply or not.
I will try and get around to writing about the actual assessments at some point soon. They where all fantastic learning opportunities in themselves.
I would love to say I’m off for a run, however I am truly shattered! Instead I’m going to return to my duties as a loving and attentive boyfriend by making dinner for my girlfriend who is just 10 days away from starting her final year exams.