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A love letter to my student paramedic placement

Guest posts

Faculty: Health, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Allied Health and Social Care
Course: BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science
Category: Allied and public health

22 August 2022

Paramedic Science student Zona

'From birth to death, and everything in between' – that’s how I always describe student paramedic placement to anyone who asks me.

As a final year student about to graduate, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing a plethora of patient presentations and have had some rather memorable interactions with the public in Greater London.

Life as a student paramedic on placement can be fast-paced and may take a little getting used to: for my 7am-7pm shifts, I would leave a 5:30am and not be home until 8pm at which point, the only thing I would want to see would be the inside of my eyelids!

The long hours aside (which is everyone’s gripe), the experience is fantastic. This is the aspect of the course that everyone loves most, as it’s the closest we get to experiencing what life will be like once we’re actually paramedics.

This role has led me to tears, but in the best way possible! In November last year (2021) I had the honour of witnessing my first birth. Now, paramedics don’t traditionally love births, as it’s a midwife’s “bread and butter” really. However, I was incredibly excited as I arrived on-scene for this job with my mentor.

The information given to us expressed that the father was very concerned because the baby was arriving too quickly. The mother gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in the bathtub just as we arrived on-scene - it was the father that actually caught the baby! I’ve never seen a human being so tiny and sweet, nor two people so immediately in love.

Seeing life in such a close and personal manner is always a reminder of why I want to be a paramedic. If I can help anyone (no matter how small the impact) to make sure they can enjoy these moments when they happen, then I’m doing my job right.

Equally, it is your care and compassion as a clinician that helps you care for those grieving too. In the pre-hospital environment, attending a patient’s death is not uncommon. Sometimes patients suddenly experience cardiac arrest; other times, death is expected and the patient is already receiving end-of-life care.

The day following that beautiful birth, I attended a cardiac arrest. Whilst the assembled team were spectacular and the quality of advanced life support (ALS) was exemplary, the patient unfortunately died.

For me, it became incredibly important to support the patient’s family in that moment - I sat with the patient’s husband for over an hour while we waited for the police to arrive (this is always the protocol for an unexpected death). With her widower, I learnt so much about the wonderful person the patient had been in life and was able to offer comfort and lend an empathetic listening ear to someone in need.

Underpinning all of my most poignant moments on placement is love. The care we have for one another - for our parents, our siblings, our partners, our children, our friends - is evident in every patient interaction I have. There is always a worried father, or a grieving partner, or a concerned neighbour.

Our jobs, as future paramedics, is to put humanity and compassion at the core of our practice so that we can be the best clinicians possible and give our patients the quality of care that they deserve.

Zona studies at ARU in Chelmsford. Find out more about Paramedic Science, and other degree courses, at one of our Open Days.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.