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IC24's Star of the Month – Michael Dowden

For this month’s IC24 Star of the Month, we spoke to one of our Driver Receptionists, Michael Dowden, from our East Kent OOHs service. Michael has worked hard with his self-development to make strides to becoming a Paramedic Practitioner through a Paramedic Science degree at Canterbury Christ Church University. Michael was supported through the IC24 bursary scheme.
IC24's Star of the Month, Michael Dowden, IC24

IC24's Star of the Month - Michael Dowden - IC24

During the past few years, Michael Dowden, a Driver and Receptionist from IC24’s East Kent out of hours (OOHs) service, has worked hard with his self-development to make great strides to becoming a Paramedic Practitioner. Michael’s progression is partially supported with an IC24 bursary.

Journey to starting his Paramedic Science degree
When Michael was younger, he worked as a lifeguard and had always enjoyed the life-saving aspects of the job. After a short time working there, he met a fellow colleague who’d recently joined the ambulance service, who was thoroughly enjoying his new role. Speaking to this colleague made Michael realise that this was a possible career route for him. Later, when he started working at IC24, he was able to speak to various paramedic practitioners about how they’d started in the profession. All these conversations and chance meetings spurred Michael into investigating his new career route.

Michael put the wheels in motion to begin his Paramedic Practitioner career in 2018, when he applied to Canterbury Christ Church University’s Paramedic Science degree. Only to find out that he needed to re-take some A Levels due to the age of his qualifications. After facing a couple of initial hurdles, he was successfully accepted into the course in 2019.

Support through an IC24 bursary
When Michael applied for his degree, he also applied to IC24’s bursary scheme to support his self-development efforts. Michael was awarded £3,500 for each year of his course, which meant he didn’t need to apply for a maintenance loan. The bursary covered Michael’s mortgage and gave him financial freedom to work part-time hours at IC24 whilst focusing on his course full-time. The bursary also helped Michael to purchase his supplementary course textbooks.

As a social enterprise, IC24 recognises the importance of offering support and development opportunities. Each year IC24 awards the bursary to two individuals, supporting them to undertake a professional qualification – one clinical and one non-clinical. These individuals are funded up to £3,500 per year for up to three years.

“Thanks to IC24’s Learning and Experience team for choosing me. When I’ve read stories about the people who received the IC24 bursary before me, I thought I’d never get it, as they were clinicians and their qualifications directly benefitted the organisation. As the IC24 bursary focuses on benefiting the healthcare landscape as a whole, I was delighted to find out I’d been chosen. If anyone is considering applying, I’d strongly urge them to give it a go as it’s not just for clinicians. I think it’s great that IC24 helps to support people to make the leap into self-development from the ground up.”

Michael's future plans
Michael is just finishing his last assignment of his second year and is two thirds of the way through his course. After completing his degree, Michael plans to kickstart his placements to help strengthen his experience. He hopes to focus on home-visiting as he has a particular affinity for this sector from his role at IC24 in an OOHs environment.  

“The beauty of the paramedic profession is that there’s so many more opportunities available now than previous years. I’ve still got a way to go and I’m fully aware that I’m doing the easy bit at the moment. I know that the level of difficulty will ramp up as I progress further. My aspiration is to become an ACP* but know that the supplementary training for prescribing at GP-level is not easily attained.”

“You could say it comes with the job I aspire to, but I always perform well under pressure and like a tight deadline to work to. I’m constantly in awe of those in my class who’ve advanced through higher-training and keep a calm air when faced with a crazy situational case study. As they’ve experienced trauma so much in their training, they’re really calm and confident, regardless of what they’re faced with. With time and experience, I aspire to be this confident.”  

“Although I’ve faced lots of hurdles along the way, I’m proof that if you really set your mind on something, you can achieve anything. If your personal situation doesn’t seem like the ideal setting for your self-development, again, I’m proof that you don’t have to work a typical ‘9 to 5’ to get results. I’m proud to say that I’m finishing my second year with a first-class honours average.”  

*Advanced Clinical Practitioners (ACPs) come from a variety of professional backgrounds including nursing, physiotherapy, pharmacy, paramedics and occupational therapy. They are experienced healthcare professionals with a master’s level award or equivalent, who have developed their skills and knowledge to take on expanded roles and scope of patient care.

A sincere well done to Michael for continuing his self-development. Stay tuned for the next instalment of the ‘IC24 Star of the Month’. You can find out more about our brilliant people by searching #MadeToBeBrave on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.