Student paramedics at Staffordshire University will be able to experience patient-handling and care skills in a fully-operational ambulance, which has been kitted-out to bring the highest level of reality to the student experience.
The ambulance, previously in operational use with the West Midlands Ambulance Service, has been purchased by tutors for the two-year Foundation Degree in Paramedic Science in order to bridge the gap between theory and practice.
Mark Garratt, Senior Lecturer Paramedic Science in the School of Social Work, Allied and Public Health, at the University, said: “Our students learn lifesaving and patient care techniques in the classroom to the highest standard, but a classroom is not where a fully trained paramedic works. This ambulance will allow our students to really understand the reality of patient care in the community, and to learn and improve their techniques for moving patients and maintaining treatment in a small, cramped area. For ambulance transport, our students must learn how to prepare their patients appropriately, how to access and treat their patients from one side only, how to move equipment about inside an ambulance safely and perform resuscitation whilst in a moving vehicle.”
The ambulance will not be used for high-speed driver training but occasionally it will travel around the Staffordshire University campus at slow, safe speeds while students learn on board. Believed to be the first fully operational learning ambulance at a UK university, it will also allow student paramedics to fully participate in disaster and accident scenario days with other emergency services which are already fully integrated within paramedic training at Staffordshire University.
Mark continued: “Our students are often young people straight from school and also people who have worked in related roles such as ambulance technicians. Our new ambulance, together with our existing practice facilities at a fully functional ‘ordinary’ house on campus will give these students fresh opportunities for realistic simulation training, and make them even better paramedics.”
Aimee Trimbee, Organisational Development Officer (Practice Placements) for West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “The new vehicle will provide students with the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of working within this environment and provide a chance for them to familiarise themselves with their surroundings before they take on their student placements out on the road. We work extremely closely with Universities and students to ensure they get the best training possible; helping them on their way to a career within the service.”