Things I have learnt so far as a student paramedic

Amy Kyle

Faculty: Medical Science
Course: BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science
Category: Allied and public health

23 June 2015

Placement is like nothing else, you see so many people every single shift. Rarely seeing the same person, but sometimes finding connections between your patients. Each and every patient is like a mystery to be solved, you have to work out what you think may be wrong in a timely manner and act appropriately.

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I have had my (overly) fair share of really interesting and complicated jobs, however it is really luck of the draw. Others haven’t been so ‘lucky’ with their patients, but they are now really hot on assessment and are more skilled in different aspects of care than I am. You need to be thinking about eight different things at once, all whilst listening to the patient as they often give clues in their history as to what is their presenting complaint.

So, here’s a quick round up of things I’ve learnt so far, in my first year studying Paramedic Science

  1. CPR is nothing like the ‘Annie’ dolls; people do not click like the dolls do.
  2. If you go on blues around a corner you will hang off the grab rails like a child on monkey bars. (Feet off the ground and everything!)
  3. It will say one thing on the terafix and the patient will say another.
  4. Some Subways give you NHS discount.
  5. Good days and bad days will happen; sometimes they come all at once. I tend to have bad weeks rather than bad days.
  6. What you hear on the news isn’t always an accurate reflection of the Ambulance Service; everyone I have met is hard working, intelligent and very caring towards each and every patient and would fight hard to do what’s best for them.
  7. Always bring spare uniform to change in to once you’ve dropped said Subway down your front.
  8. People just ‘know’ when they’ve hurt themselves or are ill. They will often tell you before you find the injury/pathology yourself.
  9. Complimentary letters feel great; there is never the expectation, so it’s an added bonus when they appear.
  10. If you clench your fists when you walk in the room, that patient is big sick. (Also known as a ‘code brown’.)
  11. Always be aware when moving a deceased patient: the stomach can perforate and you can end up covered in stomach matter.
  12. There will always be something to learn from every single patient, paramedic based or otherwise; some elderly patients have fantastic stories and they love a chat!
  13. Your course mates are your colleagues and your friends. Supporting each other through the tough times is so important.
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