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A day in the life of a student paramedic

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Published: May 1, 2020

Hi, my name is James and i'm a student Paramedic. While all too often people assume your shift will be all blue lights and sirens, the reality is that life on the road, as in working within the ambulance service, has changed. As the NHS is under great pressure, more so now than ever, the role of the paramedic has evolved to support the expanding demand.

Below I have included a sample of the jobs I encountered on just one shift as a first-year student paramedic on a front-line emergency vehicle.

The day starts at 04:00am this is the second shift of 4 working 06:00am – 6:00pm

I arrive at station and greet my crew, with a brew in hand we receive a handover from the nightshift of what their night has been like and what equipment is required to make the vehicle ready to respond to the day ahead.

Control contact us and ask for our crewing for the shift, this tells control who is on shift, in what role and what extra training or skills they have should it be required.

We get the call for the first patient of the day, a collapse (cause unknown), once we arrive at the scene and carry out all relevant examinations, there is no need to take the patient to hospital. We refer them to their GP for a check-up.

We get a call for our second patient who is having a mental health crisis, when we arrive we carry out all relevant examinations and there is no need to take the patient to hospital. We arranged for the patient to self-present for a GP appointment later on today.

After standing down from our second job we are assigned a third patient who has taken recreational drugs. We treat the patient at the scene and transport them to the nearest Emergency Department.

We are advised by control to return to base for our break, we are approximately a 30 minute drive from station. But on our way we are allocated our fourth patient who is experiencing extreme shortness of breath.

We arrive at the address following a short blue light journey, we treated the patient with medication and transported them to the Emergency Department.

When we arrive at the Emergency Department it is busy with 5 ambulances in the queue before us and the handover is delayed.

Again we are instructed to return to base for our first break of the day.

We then get a call for our fifth patient who has chest pains and is only 5 minutes away, so no break for us, now we make our way to the scene and carry out all relevant examinations, and then transport the patient to the Emergency Department.

We head to a local ambulance station to replenish our stock as some of our equipment is below minimum levels.

Our sixth patient of the day is a query stroke. Here timing is critical, so we swiftly assess the patient and transport them to an Emergency Department with stroke specialists. This time the paramedic telephoned ahead of our arrival to prepare the hospital and give a pre alert handover.

We finally head back to base for our first break of the day.

We stand down for a 30 minute break, time to have some lunch nearly 7.5 hours since the start of the shift.

An emergency call is broadcast over our radios and we are allocated to attend a self-harm patient.

We are then stood down from our seventh patient and are allocated our eighth patient who is having difficulty breathing. We arrive at the scene within 6 minutes, carry out the examination and transport the patient to the Emergency Department.

Our ninth patient is experiencing shortness of breath, once at the scene we carry out all relevant examinations, and then transport the patient to the Emergency Department.

We return to base for our second meal break of the day.

Our tenth patient is inaccessible and is believed to have had a fall, the Fire Brigade are already there and a locksmith is on route but will be approximately 45 minutes.

We finally gain access to the property and the patient is assessed and he requires hospital admission.

We handover the patient at the hospital and return to base to sign off our shift.

Sign off until 06:00am tomorrow

That was a total hours of 13 hours 35 minutes on shift.

Did anything I listed surprise you? As I mentioned above, it's very common for people to assume that shifts are always blue lights and sirens, but it really is more varied than that. If you would like to keep upto date with me, you can follow my instagram on @the_undergrad_dad.

Thanks for reading!




Topic: Student lifestyle