Our Footnotes: The Bachelor of Paramedicine at Charles Sturt University (CSU) is fully accredited by the Council of Ambulance Authorities.
Q: Why did you want to be a paramedic?
A: There are so many reasons! Wanting to help people in times of crisis really appealed to me. I also really liked the idea that every day would be different, and that I’d be challenged.
Now that I’m in the course, I can safely say that I was right. There is never the same day twice and each job provides a different challenge.
Q: How does the course prepare you for life as a paramedic?
A: From your first day of prac, you are working with real patients in real scenarios. It’s extremely challenging and even more rewarding. But, before you go out onto a formal ‘prac’ (you must complete a certain amount of hours in the course), you learn about patient care on manikins on campus.
The manikins will have real symptoms and it’s your job to approach the situation as you would in real life.
My prac was for 154 hours over four weeks. The roster included four shifts of a minimum of 12 hours. My particular roster included two day shifts from 7am to 7pm, an afternoon shift from 11am to 11pm and an evening shift from 7pm to 7am. We then had five days off in which we had to complete assignments. We also needed to do further research into what we had been involved in during our four shifts.
The best thing about prac was the fact that I was able to finally feel like a paramedic.
I was able to put into practice everything I’ve learned over the past three years and learn from someone who has been doing this for 20 years.
Q: What’s something that you have learned from your prac?
A: The hardest part of prac is that we could always do more. So we put so much pressure on ourselves to do well. Clinically, I learned to always back myself and remain calm under pressure in any situation. The degree really prepares you to work under pressure though. The classrooms that are fitted with manikins also have speakers in them – the teachers will often play audio of distressed people in the background while you work. So, for example, if there is a cardiac arrest drill in a mock-up bedroom, there could be children crying or a distressed partner in the background. They are teaching you how to maintain focus and not be alarmed by a scene.
Q: What are your plans for next year?
A: I’ve already got a job! I’ve been accepted into the London Ambulance Service. CSU has a really great relationship with them and a lot of students are able to get graduate positions there. It’s definitely a perk of the course.