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Winning woman – Raeesah Boomgaard

Celebrating International Women’s Day this month, we salute Raeesah Boomgaard. As ER24 Johannesburg West Branch Manager, she helps save lives every day.

Have you always wanted to be an involved in emergency medical services?  

I studied for a BEMS (Bachelor of Emergency Medical Care) at the University of Johannesburg and on the very first day, I knew I’d found my career. In my first year, my first road shift was at the ER24 Johannesburg West branch. As soon as I climbed into the ambulance and got a feel of the area and the people, I decided I wanted to work there. Throughout my four years of studying, I worked a lot of overtime shifts at the branch and got to know the people. After graduating, I joined the team and I’ve loved working here every minute since then.

What qualities do you think an ER24 branch manager needs?

Being a good branch manager involves more than just sitting behind a desk and making sure the branch runs smoothly. You need to have good communication and understanding with the crews. Interacting with them, talking to them, socialising with them, and running calls with them promotes open lines of communication. This shows  everyone’s opinion at the branch is valued and appreciated. I’m invested in the base and the people, and I believe they have potential to be some of the best practitioners out there. Promoting an environment where everyone is respected for their similarities and differences is important to me.

As a woman branch manager, do you feel supported by ER24? How and why?

Yes. I feel very supported. I’ve had an abundance of help and offers of help from various people throughout ER24 – from showing me how the business side operates, to giving me advice on how to interact with crews, and how to motivate and encourage staff. I honestly would have had a harder time adjusting to my new role if I didn’t have the support structure I have.

What have been some of your most interesting calls? 

Those involving patients with psychological illnesses and disorders –  we see quite a lot of patients with abnormal violent behaviours. We also have a lot of trauma calls. Being exposed to trauma cases on a regular basis also allows us to use those experiences to better ourselves and our service.

What advice do you have for girls dreaming of one day becoming emergency medical services professionals? 

Don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t work in the emergency care environment because you’re female. Women are filled with so much power.  We need more young girls to tap into that power and bring everything that they have to offer into our pre-hospital environment. As long as you love being an emergency care provider, you’ll always be the best practitioner you can be.