"I really enjoy the time we get to practice in the Simulation Suite. The tutors are really good at coming up with all kinds of weird and wonderful scenarios, so you can get used to the unpredictability of the job in a safe environment."
"Being a mum and mature student, Surrey was the obvious choice for me as it was nearest. Walking around the University for the first time, I was quite overwhelmed as it had been 18 years since I’d last been in education! It was incredibly impressive from the amount of faculties and societies, together with the fabulous facilities. The students I met seemed to be really enthusiastic and motivated. There was a great buzz about the place. I left knowing that this was where I really wanted to be!
The Open Day was really informative. The current students on the paramedic stand were really helpful, giving me tips for what additional experience I needed to obtain in order to make my application more attractive
I got to actually go inside the back of an ambulance for the first time and grill a recently qualified paramedic about what the job was really like!
I really enjoy the time we get to practice in the Simulation Suite. The tutors are really good at coming up with all kinds of weird and wonderful scenarios, so you can get used to the unpredictability of the job in a safe environment. You have the freedom to explore ideas without causing any actual harm to patients! The tutors are great at challenging you too, so you don’t get complacent as it’s a consistently challenging career. Sometimes, they manage to bag us some incredible opportunities, for example, I managed to get a free place at the 2017 HEMS conference and listen to the top UK consultants talking about some very high-brow topics. Also, early next year I’ve been randomly selected to join in a week’s medical module training for a new air ambulance crew at their base. I can’t wait!
"The tutors are really supportive on our course. Due to the nature of the career, you absolutely must have pastoral support and they are brilliant at it."
They also encourage us to talk about our experiences, which is great for reflecting and learning from the more difficult jobs. Our year group feels like a very large family. I’ve been so lucky to attend some really valuable placements in addition to the 50 per cent of our course time that is spent out on the road doing the job. I’ve been to the local hospital’s stroke unit, children’s ward, A&E and a minor injuries unit.
Next year, I will be going to operating theatres, a coronary care unit and a maternity unit to hopefully see a few babies being born and hopefully catch a few! The placements they organise are a real privilege. You learn so much and meet some incredible people - they’re invaluable.
In all the placements, I have been very hands-on. You get more out of it that way. The first six months of the course is spent in the classroom learning theory so you are prepared and ready for your first placements. The more interest you show, the more you get out of it and people are delighted to help you out as they’ve all been in your shoes at some point. As I grew in confidence, I felt able to ask more and more questions, especially of the more senior staff.
"During placement, I was able to really refine my patient assessment skills just by watching lots of different people, which worked really nicely alongside what we are taught at University."
The most important skill I have learnt throughout my time so far is leadership. In the first and second year you are doing a lot of observing and chipping in when you feel confident about something. However, by the time you get to third year you are well on your way and pretty much leading every job. You are the one organising people and asking them to do various tasks for you.
It’s an incredibly rewarding feeling when you look back on how inexperienced you felt in the first year and how far you’ve travelled in what feels like a really short space of time.
I’m literally amazed at how much I’ve learnt and how I’ve retained it. I can now confidently say I can lead a cardiac arrest, which seemed so far out of my reach in the first year!
I have had some really inspirational and supportive mentors during my time out on the road. They always have your back and step in immediately if they sense you are uncomfortable with something or don’t know what to do. They will talk to you after jobs and you can sort out any issues you’ve had. The tutors are also there whenever you need emotional or academic support.
My best moment at Surrey has been when I completed my Paediatric Advanced Life Support OSCE. This was when the tutor commended me for my leadership. It was the defining point for me when I realised I really could do this.
When I started the course, I really didn’t believe in myself and I was very anxious about being a mature student with an 18-year skills fade. When you learn something as fundamental as how to save a life in the many different scenarios it can present, somehow it makes you relax about the small stuff. I now now believe in myself and my ability and I’m going to become the best paramedic I possibly can be."