"On my placements, I’ve been practising my attending skills, collating accurate histories for patients’ presenting complaints, then carrying out appropriate assessments."
Why I chose Surrey
Before coming to university, I was a lifeguard and I loved the first aid side of the job. I started to think about what profession I wanted to get into and I settled on becoming a paramedic, as this suited my personality and interests. I love meeting new people and the thought that I can make a difference to someone’s day is really rewarding for me. It was also helpful having parents who’ve worked in the emergency services, so I had a rough idea about what to expect.
Picking the right university was important to me. When going to different open days, I looked for campus atmosphere, accommodation and course structure. Surrey ticked all the boxes. The campus was so easy to get around and everyone I met was really welcoming, including current students from the BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science course. I knew I’d fit in well.
The academic staff are amazing! They’re so knowledgeable and experienced, explaining information in a way that doesn’t make you feel overwhelmed or confused. When it comes to any concerns, they’re so supportive, understanding and efficient, ensuring a quick resolution. Every tutor is approachable and friendly, making you feel at ease.
There’s a great Clinical Simulation Suite and a community flat. These immerse you into different scenarios you could face on placement and when qualified, like house fires or nightclubs. These situations allow us to learn patient management techniques and work out ways to extract patients from difficult areas of homes. We often have actors come in to work with us, so we have exposure to real people who give us feedback, which is beneficial for improving patient-centred care.
My clinical placements
For my clinical placements, I’ve been placed with a variety of trusts, including:
- South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, working with an ambulance crew and a paramedic in a car.
- Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, on a stroke ward working with patients in recovery, on a paediatric ward providing care to children who needed hospital admission, and in accident and emergency, being part of triage, fitting cannulas and taking bloods.
- Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust, working on the minor injuries unit, assessing patients coming in with musculoskeletal injuries.
- Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, working out in the community, doing home visits for a local medical centre, alongside a paramedic practitioner.
So far, I’ve been practising my attending skills, collating accurate histories for patients’ presenting complaints, then carrying out appropriate assessments to further my clinical impression and understanding. After taking baseline observations, I decide what the best clinical pathways are in addition to drug intervention.
Outside of my usual placements, I’ve also completed educational days with Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (to understand how the helicopter emergency medical service works and operates), Kent Fire and Rescue Service (liaising with the police and fire in major incident training, including road traffic collisions), and Time for Dementia (working with dementia patients and their families to understand the impact of living with dementia).
"We often have actors come in to work with us, so we have exposure to real people who give us feedback, which is beneficial for improving patient-centred care."
My most memorable moments
Throughout the course, there have been many highlights. It makes it all worthwhile when a patient is grateful for the help they receive, even if it’s as simple as getting an elderly person who’s fallen over, up off the floor. Another is helping mental health patients who feel as though they have nothing else to give, talking to them and helping them realise there is hope. We can be the difference between them putting themselves in danger and staying safe.
My life at Surrey
I really liked my accommodation as it suited my needs well, with great transport links, being close to the University and on-site parking, essential for my placements. It was also close to Surrey Sports Park, equipped with everything you need if you're into sport and fitness.
There are lots of opportunities to get involved with clubs and societies; they put on a lot of social events for you to be able to meet new people.
My career and development
I’ve learnt so much at Surrey. I’ve become more independent and mature; learning to look after myself, becoming a better time manager and being more organised.
Once I qualify, I’d like to join the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust in the area I’ve completed my placements in. From there, I’d like to grow as a paramedic and become the best I can as a clinician, before advancing my skills further, potentially training to be a paramedic practitioner or taking on a management role as an operational team leader.