Looking back upon the last ten months, it is truly astonishing how far my cohort has come. I feel it is a testament to the fantastic lectures and tutors at ARU just how much we've learnt and developed since we began the course.
Academically, I have learnt so much: basic anatomy and physiology of cardiovascular, muscular-skeletal, abdominal systems and neurological systems; applications of tourniquets, administration of life-saving intramuscular drugs, and importantly, how to approach and care for patients, no matter how they present. It's as easy as ABC. Well, DR C AcBCDE... but I'm sure you'll pick it up!
Soon enough, it was time to get out of the classroom and onto the road to experience 'true patients', not simulations. Placement taught me so much and really helped me gain confidence in assessing and treating patients. I worked alongside incredible clinicians and mentors from London Ambulance Service, who guided me through varying treatment options and could support me when I was unsure. You can read more about my time on placement in my blog posts about dealing with a cardiac arrest and preparing for placement.
September 2016 was the first time many of us, as students, moved out of family homes. We were now reliant on each other to cook, clean, work, study… and of course, party!
Societies are a great way to meet a diverse range of students from across different courses and faculties. As a distraction from all the time spent in simulations, lectures and the library, I joined ARU Sirens; I trained along with around 30 other students (from nursing and Midwifery, to Pharmaceutical Science and Law). We competed in national university championships, achieving third place! Besides training and competitions we had social nights and opportunities to fundraise for charity. The Sirens are really like a big family and it's been a joy to train with them this year.
Through volunteering opportunities, I have been able to use my skills to help the nightlife in Chelmsford. Open Road set up SOS bus services in Chelmsford and Colchester to help defuse trouble, support local communities and reduce A&E admissions. This has been a fantastic opportunity to meet some great medics and advanced practitioners from East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) and BEARS medics. Their guidance and support has been fantastic in helping me develop and practise my assessment and management skills.
Writing this, I am currently taking a break from our final assignment of first year: Patient Assessment and Management. Last week, we had our OSCEs (practical exams) and besides finishing my assignment and adding some final comments to my placement skills record, I'm done! I really cannot believe that it was two years ago I finished my A levels, and one whole year ago I was preparing myself to move away from home and start a new adventure.
To student paramedics starting in Chelmsford: all the best with results day. It was great to meet many of you at the Welcome Day, and I look forward to seeing you around campus in September!