My first week as a Student Paramedic
My First Week Experiences
I was terrified before my first day on placement (which was clear if you have read my last post). I got up at 4am to get to the station at 6am (as you always ought to get to station at least 15 minutes early). I met my mentor who was lovely (and probably nearly as nervous as I was) and the shift begun!
My mentor and I discussed what I felt comfortable with and what I wanted to do. I was her first student as she was a mentor in training so we were both in the same position to start off with. I chose to take a back step to begin with, but quickly she encouraged and helped me to get more involved. My main concern is doing things wrong, however in the service there are plenty of ways to do things - all paramedics do things differently - so it is important to have a go so long that it is safe. All mentors are different, but communication is key. I found that everyone I encountered was helpful and friendly to me. People were happy to show me what to do and guide me in the right direction.
On my first day we went to a 4 day old baby with breathing difficulties, two ladies with abdominal pain, a drug overdose and an RTC with a queried fractured pelvis. This completely contrasted what everyone told me about our job being 80% falls. These jobs were obviously really interesting and although I was very nervous and shy, I was able to get stuck in with obs. On my first day I put on a SAM pelvic binder which I probably will not get to do again!
The other few days were similar, we had lots of abdo pain jobs which meant I could practice my abdominal assessment a few times. We also had a few queried stroke jobs, which meant I could use my neurological assessment too. I found that the neurological assessments I was taught were different to what my mentor used so she taught me what she used and I showed her what I was taught. Occasionally I know different information so we discuss and come to a joint conclusion. We had a huge variety of jobs within the first week... No births yet though unfortunately!
I did find myself going completely blank once on scene with a patient, but taking a moment to think things through logically is important. My mentor was always next to me when I needed prompting! When I started off on the first day I was so nervous, but the nerves do die down gradually. As the first week went on, my process became more logical with the odd blip; which is completely normal. Looking back to day 1 from day 4 shows a huge improvement in not only my practice, but also myself. This week has shown me that my dream job is the job I was made for, and I could not be any happier.
My Advice for Your First Week of Placement!
- If in doubt, revert to your (CC)ABCDE. Check each against the normal ranges and then ask for a history.
- Take a notepad or some sticky notes to write your obs down on. If you do not have these, write on your glove but do not throw it away before you have recorded them! Sticky notes are my favourite because I stick them to the EPCR, paperwork or JRCALC. You can really impress your mentor when they have forgotten a reading but you have it written down.
- Look at your watch! Look at the time things are done and record if possible. Time: on scene, drugs given, left scene and any other things that happen. This makes filling out paperwork so much easier.
- Google, google, google. Don't know what something means? Google. Medication? Google. Symptoms and conditions beforehand? Google. Google knows everything. Just make sure to learn which websites and apps are reliable.
- Stop, smile, breathe and enjoy. You have worked hard for this, you have (probably) practised it in a lab and it will come back to you in no time at all. There is no need to panic, your mentor will be there to hold your hand. Smile at the patient and work through it step by step. Obviously on occasions you will need to scoop and run, but most of the time you can spend a little time trying to get it right.
If you are off on placement, good luck! I hope you enjoyed. I'll be posting weekly reports so please follow and check back if you are interested!