How has your career developed since graduating?
I spent four years working on front line ambulances and rapid response vehicles (RRVs) in east Suffolk after graduating. This allowed me to consolidate everything I had learnt at university and expand my knowledge and experiences in emergency medical care.
In 2011 I joined the air ambulance charity MAGPAS and have volunteered around 700 hours to date.
In 2012 I moved into training and education as a training officer (Educator) .
Most recently (2014) I have accepted a 3 year job with East Anglian Air Ambulance which I'm due to start in October.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your current role or your greatest career achievement so far?
I currently teach in the ambulance service. Seeing students through to Paramedic registration, EMT and ECA qualification, is very rewarding. I also volunteer for the air ambulance charity MAGPAS, where I have had some of my most challenging and rewarding clinical experiences. I couldn't pinpoint one particular achievement, however, I have worked hard in my career to this point and feel I have achieved a lot in the six years since graduating from the UEA.
What are the key skills you learnt at UEA?
I feel I gained a very strong theoretical education, which has prepared me well for the pre-hospital environment. We deal with undifferentiated medical and trauma patients, with a wide range of needs, without the benefit of in-hospital diagnostics. Therefore, understanding disease processes and manifestations allows me to make strong clinical decisions. Effective communication skills are vital as a paramedic and I developed these whilst at UEA. Understanding the theory around communication allowed me to make active decisions about how I communicate with patients and colleagues, to get the best out of any given situation.
How these skills, or your course, made a difference in your career development?
At every stage of promotion so far I have been required to demonstrate my ability as a clinician, both in practical and clinical assessments. I would not have been able to achieve what I have done, in such a relatively short space of time, without the benefit of a great undergraduate education. Also, as a Paramedic and as an Educator, my communication skills are tested on a daily basis, in both clinical and non-clinical environments.
What steps did you take in finding employment?
After graduating, I was interviewed by the East of England Ambulance Service Trust and offered employment in my local area. The trust is currently on a significant Paramedic recruitment drive, and invites graduate applications.
Do you have any tips or advice for current students or recent graduates?
Achieving your degree is the first career hurdle. After achieving professional registration and gaining employment it is very easy to get out of the habit of studying and become complacent. The best part of paramedicine is the diversity of the workload, and the environment in which we work. However, to be able to cope with these varied clinical challenges, it is vital to maintain your knowledge and skills through continual professional development. This will ensure the care you provide is current best practice and will also aid you in your career development no matter which direction you hope to take.