Spotlight on role of paramedics at conference

Robert Morton (CEO EEAST), Lindsey Stafford-Scott (Director of People and Culture EEAST) and Paul Le

Robert Morton (CEO EEAST), Lindsey Stafford-Scott (Director of People and Culture EEAST) and Paul Lewis (training and Education Manager) all visiting the EEAST Research stand. Photo: UEA - Credit: UEA

More than 200 student paramedics came together to share ideas and inspiration at the annual Student Paramedic Conference for the East of England earlier this month at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Hosted by UEA's School of Health Sciences, students from UEA, Anglia Ruskin University, the University of Suffolk, the University of Bedfordshire and the University of Hertfordshire were inspired by speakers who included Robert Morton, chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST), Carl Smith, critical care paramedic, and Clare Price-Dowd, senior programme lead at the NHS Leadership Academy.

Organiser Helen Hardy, a lecturer practitioner at UEA and paramedic, said: 'This is an important event for student paramedics, a chance to meet each other and be inspired by some of the leaders in the profession.

'A paramedic's role is about much more than being a first responder and transporting patients to hospital. In fact, we try our best to avoid admissions, either by providing the treatment patients need ourselves on the spot or arranging the right care and support for them.

'It's a rapidly evolving profession that offers many career options in front-line and primary care medicine, whether that's working with the ambulance service, specialising in a particular field such as critical care, research or working with charities all over the world. The aim of the conference is to inspire student paramedics and help them to achieve their full potential.'

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Students were invited to present clinical posters detailing their ideas for service improvement within the ambulance service and the winner Oliver Page, a second year BSc student from UEA, received the opportunity to spend the day on the East Anglian Air Ambulance for their presentation of a case study around the current practice of IV glucose administration.

The students also heard from paramedics working internationally, including Sam Sweeney who worked for a non-governmental organisation (NGO) instructing paramedics working in minefields, as well as career pathways closer to home from Rob Mackie, local specialist paramedic practitioner at Watson Medical Practice.

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Lawrence Hill, clinical lead for paramedic science courses at UEA said: 'I was delighted to see so many paramedics present and future having the opportunity to explore the boundaries and opportunities within the paramedic profession. A significant highlight was the 360 Air Ambulance case study which was emotive and informative in equal measure. I had a lump in my throat when hearing about sequence of events that day from the family's perspective. A powerful reminder that behind each and every patient is a social context that often gets overlooked in the heat of the moment.'

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