June 4, 2014, by studentcontributor
Pre-hospital emergency medicine
Hi, Hannah again! I’m now about to start my final year so have been looking back over my highlights of med school so far. For me, my Student Selected Module, or SSM, was the best part of clinical placement. In fourth year all students at Nottingham get the opportunity to try almost anything of their choosing (relating to medicine!) for four weeks from A&E to radiology to French for Medics!
I decided to take Pre-hospital Medicine. This was partly as it is a relatively new specialty of which we get little exposure as students and because it is something I’m interested in doing. It was also a good opportunity to brush up on some practical skills and general history taking in a year of modules which require more specific skills. It is supervised by the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) and over the four weeks students are part of a double crew team, usually of a paramedic and Emergency Care Assistant, on a traditional ambulance for the most part but also on the Fast Response Vehicle (FRV) and with Emergency Care Practitioner (ECP). In addition all students do one shift on the Police Ambulance, or Pol Amb, which is a big ambulance with a kind of clinic room in the back, staffed by a paramedic or ECP and a police officer. It is based in the city centre on Friday and Saturday nights and sees patients who may only need a little bit of assessment and/or treatment, such as a few stitches, to prevent them needing to go to A&E.
Night shifts and calling 999 for tea
I feel very privileged to have been able to take part in this programme as I was truly welcomed into the team at EMAS and learnt a great deal, despite having to do night shifts for the first time! I saw a huge variety of patients, with many different problems and it gave me an insight into how the service works. It also taught me patience after going to lots of patients who didn’t actually need an ambulance but called 999. For example one weekend we went to the same lady three times because she wanted cups of tea and help changing the television channel!
We did also go to many very sick people and I was part of a team who were experienced and kind to everyone we saw as well as taking the time to teach me. I went to a cardiac arrest for the first time and took an active role in resuscitation. This was a stressful experience but I was well supported and have gained a lot from being able to take part including putting my CPR training into practice and gaining confidence in my cannulation skills!
Finally, it was also useful for learning about the community I’m training in. I am now more aware of the different areas of the city and its surroundings, the difficulties faced by different districts and how my role as a future doctor fits in around other services and how it’s viewed by the local public. This has since come in useful in lots of other settings and has given me a better understanding of the social aspects of medicine. I would definitely recommend this module to anyone who studies here but I’d also urge students to fully immerse themselves in any module they take to really get the most out of it.