Placement is a great learning experience, as you get to put your theory into practice, however, it can be a very daunting experience. I think everyone has the anxious nausea prior to your first shift on the road as a paramedic.
When you begin placement, you will see things you have only heard about in lectures, and you will meet some people who are literally having the worst time of their life. However, there are many things which can prepare you for placement. ARU will ensure you are taught all the fundamentals to ensure you are ready for placement. The uni and lecturers at ARU will be there to help you prepare and answer any questions you may have.
Self-study is also helpful preparation. Before I started placement, I topped up on topics such as communication, a good primary survey, basic initial assessment, basic ECGs and familiarisation of common medication. Remember, in your first year you are not supposed to know everything! So getting down the basics and fundamentals creates a great foundation to improve in the following two years of your degree.
Talk to other students! Speak to your cohort and discuss everyone’s concerns, it can be a beneficial experience for everyone. The students in the years above have had this experience already, so speaking to these students will be very reassuring. ARU’s paramedic society (ParaSoc) is also a brilliant society which is there to support students throughout difficulties in their studies.
As I’m sure you already know, the ambulance service is very raw. Some of the patients you see may upset you, or leave you puzzled… and that’s completely normal. Certain things like death or trauma can really begin to get to people, so it’s so important to talk about it. Ask your mentor for a chat after shift, you can also useARU’s well-being service, call your friend or drop a lecturer an email. Please don’t bottle it up inside.
Your mentor is going to be a huge part of your learning experience. If you have any concerns you can speak to your mentor and they will be there to help you. Top tip, find out what coffee they like so you can bring them a thank you from time to time! I’d recommend a few items to bring on placement with you - a large bottle of water to keep hydrated throughout the day, plenty of food, a charging port and a charging lead, pen, pocket notebook, stethoscope and a JRCALC pocketbook. The best JRCALC to use is the mobile app, as it is the most updated version!
Lastly, good luck on your future placements 😊