Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Paramedic Science: What’s the worst thing you’ve seen?

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

3 April 2017

Alex talks about his work as a student ambassador and a question he is often asked as a Paramedic Science student - what is the worst thing you've seen on placement?

As the weeks fly by at university all of us in second year are starting to realise how soon we will become qualified paramedics. Next year we will be having our interviews with ambulance trusts and registering with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). It’s a scary thought but one which often gets forgotten as there are plenty of tasks to be distracted by.

Maintaining a balance between studying and socialising

I have made a thorough start to my professional role service improvement plan essay and presentation. It’s a very important module, worth 45 credits, and is running side-by-side with our pharmacology assignment. It can be a lot of work at times. However, if you make an early start on the work and continue to put in the effort, you can easily master a good balance between studying and socialising.

Working events as a student ambassador

In my time outside of lectures I have been keeping busy by working plenty of events as a student ambassador for the university, most recently at a skills career fair in Norfolk. Joe, a fellow student in my year, accompanied me in demonstrating basic life support to plenty of wannabe paramedics. We took a resuscitation doll and iSimulate along with us, which replicates one of our monitors on the ambulance. The resuscitation doll was used to perform CPR as well as insertion of oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal airways, which optimises ventilations for the patient. It was a great experience demonstrating this whilst wearing the uniform; it was surreal to think I was in their shoes just two to three years ago. It makes me proud that I am able to answer their questions as truthfully and informatively as I would have wanted when I was applying.

What's the worst thing I've seen on placement?

Of course, it is inevitable to be asked the question ‘What’s the worst you’ve seen on placement?’. It crops up more times than you would expect. It’s always a tricky question to answer without not only scaring them out of applying to the course, but also protecting patient confidentiality. Do I tell them about the time I witnessed a motorcyclist hit a tractor at 70mph and suffer catastrophic injuries? Or perhaps the time I responded to an elderly gentlemen fallen on the floor, whereby he proceeded to read us a book he published about the time he was a medic in World War II whilst making us a tea at 2am? It’s usually this option I choose to reply with, as that is in fact what the job entails mainly; the elderly population. People see the blue flashing lights and green uniform and are steered towards asking questions about the ‘exciting’ trauma patients emphasised by Casualty and Holby City, when the paramedical profession is steering towards more of a primary care service in my eyes.

It’s interesting to think about the kind of patients you see on a daily basis. The sheer diversity and nature of the ‘job’ means no two days are the same. This is what attracted me in the first place and what will keep me in the career for years to come.

Later this month, I am working as an ambassador for ARU and both London Excel and Brighton & Sussex UCAS conventions: I’m really looking forward to talking to more students about the profession and how Anglia Ruskin can kick-start their career.

Alex studies Paramedic Science at ARU. You can find out if you have what it takes to become a paramedic at one of our Paramedic Science Taster 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.