Chloe – ‘Why I chose to study an AHP degree’
3rd June 2021
- Why did you choose to study paramedic science?
I have always wanted to work in the medical profession, and I wanted to work in a role where I saw lots of different patients from all walks of life and I like to work in a constantly changing environment, all of these factors lend themselves directly to the Paramedic profession. There is something very special about the general public trusting you and allowing you into their homes and private life when you are a stranger to them, and this profession allows you to see a different side to a patient and their families that you do not get in a hospital environment.
- What are your plans for the future regarding being a paramedic?
I have not set any definitive plans yet as I really want to see what opportunities arise and where my professional interest lies post-registration, although, as of right now I have an interest in critical-care and trauma and would love to work my way up to working for HEMS. Recently I have also gained an interest in the education and teaching side of the profession so I think another possibility would be lecturing or assisting local universities, however, I do not see myself leaving the frontline of the service for a long time!
- What would you say is the most difficult part about being a student paramedic?
Good question! I believe every student has completely different strengths and weaknesses but for me it has been my personal confidence, I came into this degree with no healthcare experience, and I am the youngest on my cohort starting my first year of university at 18 so I struggled with my confidence as I consistently doubted whether I was good enough for this role and if the older population would trust such a young clinician. My confidence has absolutely improved through the support of the university, my mentor and a great support system around me. I think it is key to remind yourself that you are not going to be perfect whilst training, you will make mistakes and the crucial thing is to ask questions, put yourself out there and take every learning opportunity that is available to you.
- Top piece of advice for anyone wanting to go down this path?
If this is the career you want then put your 100% into getting there, it’s not an easy degree or profession and it is not for everyone but if you want to be a Paramedic then just go for it, I have seen people applying to various universities for multiple years until they were accepted or working their way up through the Ambulance Service ranks to get to be a Paramedic. It can be hard, but it is worth it! If you are able to get some healthcare experience that is and just ensure you have a strong knowledge of what the role of the Paramedic is prior to applying.
- Biggest myth about paramedics, and how do you dispel them?
Many people believe the role of a Paramedic is simply just to transport people into hospital, I still hear many people use the old phrase ‘ambulance driver’ to describe the ambulance service and we are so much more than that. Paramedics do not just work within the ambulance service they can also work in hospitals, GP surgeries, urgent treatment centres etc. and the role of the paramedic is very new compared to other AHPs, having celebrated the roles 50th anniversary in March 2021 so I think the public still lack understanding of our true job role. We often play a huge role in a patient care, we have to make decisions on what interventions are needed, if hospital admission is necessary and what other services this patient could benefit from. We also liaise with many other healthcare professionals such as GPs or wider services such as social services, the police or fire brigade to advocate for the best interests of our patients. It is challenging to dispel a national misunderstanding for your profession, but I believe as the scope of the paramedic profession broadens and people begin to see us in different healthcare settings and encounter us when needed their true understanding and appreciation for our role will change and I like to think every patient I encounter and give my best patient-centred care too now knows what it is a Paramedic does.
Chloe’s journey is the latest in our ‘Why I chose AHP’ showcase series. There are many careers in healthcare aside from medicine that still enables you to make a difference in a person’s life. Thank you Chloe! More perspectives coming your way, keep an eye out !