Kelly’s eye – PGA pro Ciara is on-call for the NHS

Kelly’s eye – PGA pro Ciara is on-call for the NHS


Birmingham-based PGA pro Ciara Kelly has teed up a temporary career helping the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic by working as a call assessor for the West Midlands Ambulance Service.

The 22-year-old qualified as a PGA Professional when she attained her degree in Applied Golf Management Studies at the University of Birmingham last summer.

Her first job involved working for England Golf as a county support officer for clubs in Warwickshire and Worcestershire, helping them with business planning, marketing, membership recruitment and retention.

“It was a maternity cover position that ended the same time as the lockdown started,” Kelly recalled.

“I was a little unsure what to do with golf clubs being closed because of the lockdown. Then I saw the job opportunity come up and felt it would be a great way to be productive and useful during it.”

Although her current role is a world away from a career in golf, the NHS is not totally alien territory to Kelly.

“My mum was a nurse in A&E for many years and now is a nursing lecturer, so I have quite a strong connection with the NHS,” she added.

“And my dad’s a police officer so we’re very much a family with an emergency services background.”

Kelly has now completed seven shifts after undergoing a fortnight’s training and admits there are times the job can be stressful.

“You get a wide range of calls,” she explained. “Some people just need to speak to their GP about some recurring symptoms; others involve sending emergency ambulances out for major blood loss, potential heart attacks – things like that.

“There’s everything in between as well – you get a lot of mental health calls. And obviously at the moment there are a lot to do with coronavirus.

“It can be stressful, especially if someone is panicking on the phone. You have to remember that if someone is calling 111 or 999 it’s probably the most stressed they’ve ever felt in their life.”

Support in the form of a team of clinicians as well as her fellow call handlers is readily available, however.

“There are 80 call handlers on duty at any one time and there’s a team of clinicians made up of nurses, paramedics, doctors and mental health nurses,” she continues.

“So if a caller needs to speak to someone with a healthcare background you can pass the call on. There’s plenty of people on hand to give support and advice.”

Looking ahead, Kelly plans to continue helping the NHS until the end of the lockdown and maybe for longer.

“The plan is to stay in golf,” she said. “But I intend to return to university in September or October to do a social sciences research masters degree and apply it to the sport.

“In the meantime, I’m more than happy helping out the NHS.”



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