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Birth to death: Experiences I will never forget

Alex Grant

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

31 May 2017

In the past two weeks I have had both assessment and maternity placement; spending shifts on an Acute Medical Unit (AMU) and labour ward.

Maternity placement

My maternity experience has been very limited in terms of the delivery of a baby in the pre-hospital setting. Thankfully, or unluckily, I have not had the opportunity to deliver a baby in the back of an ambulance.

People tend to approach pregnancy and babies with the marmite analogy: you either love it or hate it. I for one am quite content not having to worry about a second human being on scene, especially if they are fresh and covered in all sorts of bodily fluids from the birth!

My week began with a slow introduction to the labour ward, whereby two fellow students I was with snapped up the only births that shift. In the middle of the week, I had the amazing opportunity to observe a caesarean section and got to look after the newborn baby boy in his first few seconds of life. My luck continued through till the final hour of my maternity placement, when I assisted in the normal delivery of a healthy baby girl. It was my first experience of this kind. I certainly hope I don’t have to re-enact this too often when I'm a qualified paramedic and working as a solo responder soon.

Placement in the AMU

My time spent on the AMU was rather busy at times, especially helping out at the ambulance triage section. Here I was able to cannulate many patients and take what seemed like way too many observations! The staff were very friendly and patients were open to our presence and participation in their ongoing care.

Sadly a patient passed away a previous night, but I was offered the chance to observe the process of what happens. I escorted the body to the mortuary where I was shown around by the laboratory technician. The facilities housed tall fridge-like columns where around 70 bodies could be stored. I didn’t quite know how to feel or what to expect, but the staff explained everything clearly and maintained the utmost respect and dignity towards those who'd passed away. It was an experience I will never forget.

What happens next in the out-of-ambulance placement

We are now halfway through our hospital placement, and our practice assessment documents are starting to thicken with skills and hours recorded so far.

The final stages of my out-of-ambulance placement will include mental health and district nursing, before returning to university to complete a module, Patient Assessment and Management 2.

Alex studies Paramedic Science at ARU. You can find out more about this 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.