Back to reality and back to university

Ben

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

9 November 2017

During my summer break, I jetted off to Canada for a well-deserved rest before starting my second year at ARU. Attention! This blog post contains images that may cause distress and are of a sensitive nature.

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Paramedic Science student Ben with Canadian Fire Rescue Service Bear mascots
Whilst in Canada I took the opportunity to visit one of their integrated fire rescue and medical response centres; where both ambulance and fire services share facilities, and respond from a joint location. It was an interesting and insightful experience to learn the scope of practice of paramedics in Canada and how it varies from province to province, as well as the range of equipment and drugs the paramedics have access to. Interestingly, I discovered that in Alberta some of their paramedics can administer blood products, whilst in the UK this is currently only available to HEMS doctors in the pre-hospital environment. On the whole, Canadian paramedics have access to the same kind of equipment such as advanced airways, capnometry and haemostatic dressings. Although, I do prefer their navy-blue uniform to our alien green ones!

The first couple weeks of university have been fantastic – we have been back in lectures having an in-depth look at applied anatomy and physiology. Elliot has been teaching this module, bringing what could be a very difficult module to life. My highlights of Elliot so far have been him excitedly jumping across our lecture theatre showing us the different elements of ECGs (electrocardiograms), and dramatically illustrating how pain can be blocked using lidocaine. We’ve also spent a morning in the labs dissecting hearts and lungs to develop our understanding of cardiac and respiratory anatomy, and even got to simulate some aneurysms and pneumothoraxes.

Check out the photos of the ARU Paramedics Twitter

Back in the skills labs, we have been learning new clinical interventions. This year we are taught many of the essential paramedic skills such as intubation, cannulation and needle chest thoracentesis. Once we are signed off in the labs, we are able to carry out these skills on placement, under the supervision of our paramedic mentors.

I also had the pleasure of visiting University of East Anglia for their Student Paramedic Conference and St George’s University of London for their monthly Emergency Medicine Society forum. At both events, I heard from highly knowledgeable clinicians on a range of subjects, from assessing paediatric patients (babies and children) to considerations when managing a toxic cardiac arrest. Experiencing these has really enhanced my learning and I am now really looking forward to starting my next block of placements from mid-November!

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