It has been rather a long time since I wrote a blog post as I've had surgery. I'm sure that the experience of being a patient will help me, as a paramedic, to really connect to my future patients.
There have been many things, both positive and negative, to occur so far in my third and final year of university.
I proceeded to attend our ambulance placement over September and October 2017, in which I delivered my first baby at the patient's home! It was a spectacular event and I was extremely glad I had experienced this as a student with two excellent paramedics by my side. I have stayed with my second-year mentor as he transferred from a FRU secondment to an ambulance line at Islington station in central London. Over the five weeks, we saw an array of minor illnesses and community care including a big increase in mental health assessments. I attended one cardiac arrest patient that, sadly, we could not save.
However, my health started to deteriorate over the summer holidays and I have acquired a chronic condition that required surgery the moment I finished placement. Unfortunately it didn’t quite go the way I had hoped and it meant I was not only house-bound for over a month, but I was not in a position to return to University before Christmas. This really affected me on a personal level having not seen any of my friends for months, and I am still not completely recovered. It may be many more weeks or potentially months yet.
I am fortunate enough to be fit for hospital placement, where I have recently completed two weeks in main theatres. I managed to successfully intubate three patients and also place many other airway adjuncts alongside cannulation, too. Despite the heavy politics ongoing with the mass cancellations of elective surgeries I have been extremely lucky to have the opportunity to carry out these skills, albeit ‘quiet’ at times.
In all honesty I’m not sure what the future holds. I am currently working at 100% capacity trying to catch up with all the University work I have missed since my operation in November. I aim to remain on-track to graduate this summer!
Being a patient has opened up my views on healthcare dramatically, having experienced both good and bad practice. I believe it has strengthened my knowledge most certainly on the condition I have, but also I fully believe it will enable me to connect to any future patients I see with similar circumstances in a more holistic and wholesome manner.
One of the benefits of studying a clinical degree has been the immense support of the paramedic teaching team here at Anglia Ruskin. They have been in regular contact with me throughout my care, organising additional work on memory sticks especially for me and even inputting their clinical knowledge on my situation! They have gone above and beyond the role of a ‘teacher’ and continue to remain excellent examples of professionalism and role models.
With that being said, I must get back to revising and working on the 5,000-word research patchwork I now need to write. We are soon to return to University teaching beginning with our 'leadership module and undergraduate major project' – otherwise known as a dissertation!
From carer to first responder: Alex's story