Since I started my working life I have always wanted to become a paramedic; my life goal was to do this when I was 40. Fast forward a few years and I’m in my 30s with a successful career as a senior manager in the NHS in Yorkshire, still on target to become a paramedic at 40. I then moved to the North East for my husband’s work and started a master’s degree in leadership. As part of the course I had a life coach who challenged me on my personal and professional goals. I told her about my life plan and her only response was “why 40?”. Within two weeks of this conversation, I had attended an open day at the University of Sunderland and applied to study Paramedic Science and Out of Hospital Care. I was accepted and started 6 weeks later at the young age of 34!
I knew the University of Sunderland had a good reputation for Paramedic Science and I was delighted that I was accepted to study here. I would thoroughly recommend studying at the University; from day one I was supported by all the lecturers in the team. I was a bit nervous being a mature student, going back to studying and thinking I’d be the oldest in the classroom (thankfully, I was the second oldest!). My advice is not to worry if you are a mature student, my mum always taught me that you can do anything you put your mind to – and I truly believe this.
I loved the variety of the course, what paramedic student doesn’t love the trauma scenarios and the quick thinking that comes with it? I also enjoyed the more academic side to the course, it kept my mind active. We were encouraged to go and read about a lot of different topics and to challenge the research out there.
I completed my degree in March 2022 and then we moved from Newcastle to Edinburgh. I started my paramedic role within the Scottish Ambulance Service in April 2022. I went on to complete my induction, shadowing shifts and driving course, and then started working as a paramedic in June 2022. The placements I had in my third year really gave me insight into different working environments for paramedics. My Primary Care placement really interested me and I intend to pursue this career path once I have gained more experience working on an emergency ambulance.
Every day I use the knowledge and skills that I learned at university to assess and treat patients in my care. Even the things I learned during my first few weeks of my degree still helps me to explain anatomy to patients. I remember one of the lecturers telling me that if I was ever in doubt during a patient assessment, just go back to ABC and check everything again. I use this frequently when looking after people.
I have loved my three years at university – it certainly hasn’t been easy, but it has definitely been worth it to give me my dream job.”
Published 30 June 2022