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PHOEBE’S JOURNEY INTO PARAMEDIC SCIENCE (UWE Healthcare Heroes project)

11th January 2021

A picture of a women holding a sign about being a student paramedic
Student Paramedic, Phoebe

Current position: Second year Paramedic Science student and Student Ambassador at The University of the West of England (UWE) Bristol.

Top piece of advice: Don’t worry about getting your career right the first time, you will have many different opportunities so don’t be afraid to take them and keep changing it up.

Education: Level 2 in Outdoor Activity Leadership, Level 3 in Business Administration, Maths A Level (A), Biology A Level (B), Physical Education A Level (B), History A Level (D), 11x GCSE’s at Grade A.

Previous jobs: Once I left school, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, but at the time I definitely didn’t want to go to university, so I got a Business apprenticeship with a leisure centre. Whilst working there I discovered a love of teaching younger children so once my apprenticeship finished, I found a second apprenticeship at an outdoor adventure centre. I worked as an apprentice for a year to gain my level 2 in Outdoor activity leadership, and then moved to another outdoor centre to continue working for another year. It was around this time that I became interested in becoming a Paramedic.

Why I chose to study Paramedic Science: Once I had decided I wanted to pursue a career as a Paramedic, I needed to find some work whilst I applied to University. Although they do offer degree apprenticeships, I decided to go down the university route. The thing that really confirmed for me that I wanted to become a Paramedic was working as a 999 Call taker for South Central Ambulance Service. I got first-hand experience of dealing with and talking people through what was potentially, the scariest times of their lives; helping them to look after their loved ones and giving them the best possible chance of recovery. I want to become a Paramedic as they are that first point of contact for people when they are most scared and requiring help. Paramedics also experience a variety of injuries and illnesses that most other professions wouldn’t come into contact with. I enjoy the element of problem solving as sometimes it can be quite difficult to get a patient into the ambulance due to their environment.  

Future plans and aspirations I’m currently unsure exactly what my future plans are, but I would like to work in developing countries assisting with their medical needs and providing aid during natural and war disasters.

Paramedic Science through my eyes: Paramedics are trained healthcare professionals who are able to provide patients with treatments at home, are able to stabilise patients and transport them to hospital where necessary. Not all patients will require treatments at hospital, so paramedics are trained to be able to provide the necessary care in a patient’s home. Paramedics may attend to any kind of patient, from children all the way through to older adults, and patients with a variety of illnesses and injuries, from broken bones to heart attacks to a baby being born. They will attend to these patients in all environments outside of a hospital, be that the patients’ home, at school, at work or on holiday. Although Paramedics often work in the public domain, they can also work in GP surgeries, hospitals, research areas and in the clinical hub/999 call centre.

Myths & Misunderstandings

  1. That paramedics are just ambulance drivers. They do often drive ambulances, but the level of knowledge required to be a paramedic is extremely high and they are able to treat and give potential diagnoses to patients.
  2. Every patient a paramedic goes to is a cardiac arrest or extreme emergency. A lot of the patients that paramedics attend to are emergencies but not necessarily the high adrenaline type of emergencies. It may be an older patient who has fallen and been on the floor for a while, this can cause various internal injuries, so it is still an emergency, however with a potentially less urgent outcome required.
  3. Everything a Paramedic attends to is trauma related. A lot of patients are not trauma related, they may be illnesses or mental health related instead.

Example of typical (UWE) entry requirements: 128 Tariff points. GCSEs Grade C/4 or above in English Language or Literature, Mathematics and Science, or equivalent. A-level Grade B in a Science or Social Science subject. EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma six units in a Science or Social Science subject. Please list the units you are studying in your application. For further advice on acceptable units, please email us. Access: 15 Level 3 credits at Distinction in a Science or Social Science subject. Baccalaureate IB: Minimum Grade 6 in a Higher Level Science or Social Science subject.

Student Paramedic, Phoebe shares her journey, myth-busting her chosen profession as part of the virtual event series, How to Become a Healthcare Hero, delivered by Future Quest and two student healthcare leaders selected by the Council of Deans at the University of the West of England, Bristol. This was designed to untangle common stereotypes and misconceptions; to represent the variety of career journeys experienced; and to enable more informed career choices by giving a voice to more hidden healthcare opportunities professions.

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