Published: September 25, 2020
Hi, my name is James and i'm a student Paramedic. Becoming a paramedic isn’t all about responding to emergencies, nor is it solely working in an ambulance setting. Paramedicine is still a relatively new discipline when compared with the likes of nursing and medicine. The role of the paramedic is ever-changing and excitingly for us students continues to grow, change and adapt, broadening the scope of potential future employment working environments.
Paramedics are now working in a whole range of settings, from A&E to GP surgeries, and are progressing through further education to specialist and consultant levels, there are too many roles and possibilities to mention but the #notallparamedicsweargreen campaign can certainly fill in any gaps.
With this in mind, our University teaches us to become skilled clinicians that can adapt to work within all aspects of care and not solely to become ambulance paramedics. Luckily for us students, we get the privileged of experiencing a whole host of placement opportunities, in areas that we may not be covered in the traditional paramedic urgent or emergency care roles.
As part of my placement, pre-COVID, I spent 2 weeks with the Monkwearmouth Learning Disabilities Community Treatment Team, who provide a range of specialist therapeutic interventions out in the community to people with a learning disability, supporting them to access mainstream health services.
While with the team, I was able to get some hands-on experience and spent some allocated time with different team members, learning about their role and the interventions they provide for their service users.
The team consisted of multiple disciplines covering; Nursing, Psychiatry, Psychology, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy (SALT).
Each day began with a team huddle, a cuppa and an update of any immediate changes to the clients’ needs. Jobs requiring immediate action were signposted to the appropriate staff member and swiftly noted, with offers of support from other members supplementing a seamlessly swift and smooth change to operation.
During one of my placement days, I was fortunate enough to spend some time at a rehabilitation day centre and met with some of the clients. I was invited to join in supporting them with their physiotherapy and gained a lot from studying personalised care plans and regimes, what I found most beneficial from this time was witnessing the sheer joy, fun and excitement that sensory play and physiotherapy can bring to those with severe learning disabilities.
I spent some time in team meetings, holistically assessing patients and an afternoon in a medical clinic. I also visited clients in hospital, within care homes and out in the community at respite centres and during activities. I met with clients, their families and support staff.
Another day included some routine home visits, following up with service users and updating care plans, discussing preventative measures and joining in with some epilepsy management training for the carers of service users. The team also dealt with end of life care and management.
Spending some time with the Mental Health nurse was one of my favourite days. Looking back, I learnt a lot from this day and had the pleasure of meeting a service user who used British Sign Language as her main form of communication. My attempts to fingerspell and communicate added some humour and amusement, I guess you can’t blame a boy for trying.
As the days went by it was clear that the real challenges the team face were ensuring that service users are able to have their overall health needs met and maintained within the community to a satisfactory level. As many of the service users had severe learning disabilities, poor mental health was often experienced as a result, adding additional challenges to communication and displays of challenging behaviour.
The team were all absolutely fantastic and taught me a lot, with the experiences since proving invaluable when supporting patients with additional needs.
Topic: Student lifestyle