As one of the latest volunteers for SERV SSL, I thought I’d tell you about my first shift as a rider last night. I did my induction where I learnt about what the charity is about and conducted some training on the distribution practices that must be adhered to. I then conducted a site tour a week ago where I was issued with my uniform and ID card. This process is designed to guide me through the procedure for collecting blood products at NHSBT Tooting, as well as going for a ride along the route we use into St Thomas’ Hospital, which is one of our regular night time destinations.
Everyone told me that the first call out would be a little nerve racking, as the load we carry is extremely valuable. You’re well prepared in your training and orientation for the responsibility of delivering a job safely and promptly, but you never really know how it’ll feel until you strap that box onto your bike and set off into the night with your heart beating just that little bit faster.
Controlled by the experienced and efficient Nick, I got sent to NHSBT Tooting for a run over to one of our regular Hospitals with a box of blood. When I arrived for the collection at about ten o’clock, it was a very pleasant surprise to bump into another one of our volunteers, Steve, who’d popped in on his way back from a different job to see if there was anything worth sticking around for before he returned home.
That was my only run of the night and thankfully, it was utterly uneventful (if a little damp) as the spring weather hasn’t yet arrived. I got home shortly before midnight, sent my ‘safe home’ text to Nick, and put the kettle on for a well-earned cuppa. Thanks to everyone who’s helped, advised and generally got me this far – I’m looking forward to my next shift in a couple of weeks!