Introducing the UK’s first student paramedic society and conference

The beginningThe Student Paramedic Society at the University of Hertfordshire was founded by two students in January 2012, with the aim of providing convenient opportunities for students to attend guest lectures, workshops and practical activities that would support their professional development. Our first event was held in March 2012, and was a small workshop looking at the Mental Health Act (2007) and the Mental Capacity Act (2005). The workshop was led by Sue Putman, clinical lead for learning disability and mental health with South Central Ambulance Service, and was attended by 30 students. The feedback was extremely positive, and students left feeling much more confident about appropriate use of the two acts in their practice. The feedback encouraged myself and co-founder Adam Kenningham-Brown to go on and arrange future talks.April 2012 saw over 70 students fill a lecture theatre for our second event. The topic was acute coronary syndromes (ACS) and the ECG, led by consultant paramedic Mark Whitbread. Over two hours Mark delivered an excellent session that gave students from all stages of the programme the knowledge to accurately diagnose common ECG presentations, and manage the ACS patient appropriately. Mark also highlighted the ongoing work of the London Ambulance Service (LAS) to establish care bundles for this specific patient group, and students received an aide memoire to remind them of best practice.Just a week later we held our final event for the 2011/2012 academic year, covering ‘End of Life Care and Recognition of Life Extinct’. Over three hours, just fewer than 50 students were given an update on the work currently underway to establish a National End of Life Care programme for the ambulance service. The event was delivered by David Whitmore (senior clinical advisor, LAS) and Georgina Jones (End of Life Care project coordinator, LAS). Common ‘End of Life Care’ emergencies were covered, as well as paramedic use of rescue medication and how to determine validity of a DNA-CPR document. Such an interesting topic generated questions and discussion throughout, and we ran over by an hour (this would have been longer if we had let David continue).

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