We had a student with us for the past two weeks. It was her first ever time on a real working ambulance so she had a more than a few 'firsts'.

She saw her first dead body.

She drove for the first time with the blue lights and sirens.

She used the radio for the first time, talking to Control.

She spoke to her first patient, calmed her first scared patient.

She met her first alcoholic (who was nice) and her second alcoholic (who wasn't).

She got cut out of her first car, holding the neck of the driver who'd crashed it.

She filled in her first accident report form (neither her fault, nor connected with the previous point).

She took her first 'real' blood pressure, her first blood sugar reading, her first pulse and listened to her first chest.

She carried her first patient down a couple of flights of stairs.

She filled up and paid for her first tank of diesel.

She dealt with her first case of domestic violence, and her first heart attack.

She also ganged up with my crewmate and bullied me like an expert – but I'm used to having that effect on women.


I sometimes forget, having seen most things, done most things and gotten bored of most things; how interesting this job can be. Sometimes it helps to look through the eyes of a student to see that we do have a job where every day contains a story.

It's very easy to get disillusioned with the job, I know I have – but when you are teaching someone, the tricks and tips that they don't teach in school – the ways to look at patients, the ways to talk to them to ease their fears, the ways to not get burnt out too quickly – well, then you get a chance to take a step back and realise what it is you enjoy about the job.


Blogging should be more regular now as I've attacked my old computer with a screwdriver and now have a (much slower) working machine. If you've sent me an email in the past month you should be getting a reply soon.

14 thoughts on “Student”

  1. A heart warming story. Makes you remember when you were like that.The only problem is that the 'Horrible House' students are becoming jaded, by management, ridiculously fast. Makes me wonder if it is just me or has the job really changed that much.

  2. Agreed – I think that the drop out rate is rather high for H. House. Certainly much more than via the way I was trained.I mean, look at the B relief rota and your heart just sinks…

  3. I find APED/PPed (on the road training for the students) one of the most rewarding parts of the job. They have an enthusiasm for the job that I wish I still had.The 'B' rota is a tragedy. If they have a family they don't get to see them and if they are single they have no chance of starting a relationship in the real world.

  4. As a student nurse I would like to think that I bring out this sort of reaction in the staff but most of the time I feel like I am just getting in their way.Still loving the course at the moment but have previous knowledge of what I was walking into from familiy members in the profession and from working as an auxilliary.

    First injection the other day (feels nothing like the fake arm in practice).

    First real set of obs (my hands were shaking).

    First proper drug round (need to read my BNF more often).

    Love the blog by the way. Its nice to see you posting again. First time I have actually messaged you but I have to say you do make me laugh out loud sometimes. Sycophantic moment over now.

  5. Great post – & good to see you back. Your observations could probably be seen across many fields.BTW – why spoil a good piece with the use of “gotten”? You're not a septic and you are also a much a better writer than that!



  6. Well, the “B” rota looks hard, but it doesn't look so bad. After all you get at least 27 days off in 10 weeks, which is plenty of time to take care of a family and friends, compared to many other jobs.I mean, my fiance has been working as a waitress during the last few months and she had to do it around lunchtime from monday to friday and around dinnertime from monday to saturday. That's probably much more disruptive, as you have almost no chances at all to see your friends. Besides, as your working day is split in two parts you almost never get more than a pair of hours together to do anything you need during the week.

    Besides, the real question for those who begin working on ambulances isn't “is it really so hard?”, but “if I need an ambulance at 3 a.m. on Christmas day, do I want it to arrive on time?”.

  7. Great post… and it's really nice to see that you like so much to help student paramedics learn their new skills.PS: thanks a lot for your blog and your books. They're really insightful and motivating, when you want to do this job.

  8. a) It's time for a remake of that movie classic:

    b) Wasn't there a story of a patient being injured/killed when he was dropped a few weeks ago?

    You usually comment on ambulance related news items.

  9. “Gotten” is only a valid word if you are from North America. The rest of the world has other words, such as “become”.Loved the article. I like to see each new batch of medical students when they come to us. Young, clever (I hope) and very enthusiastic.

    I imagine manglement will sort out that last item!

  10. I agree that a waitress has it worse, but these are just degrees of bad. Bad is not good and if peoples lives depend on you being on top form it has the potential to be bad for the patient.If you need an ambulance at 3am on Christmas day you are now taking about a lottery. As there are not enough on the road you have to hope that one becomes available quickly.

  11. i am a student paramedic and bloody loving it!!!! have seen a fair few jobsin my very short time out so far and have worked with some fantastic people! the majority of staff have been extremely helpful and insightful and it is really appreciated it.I completely get where your post is coming from….sometimes its the little things that take you back more….like a manual blood pressure orpeoples very different reactions to medoing a bm test!!! funny stuff. the cardiac arrests (of which i have had 4 in three weeks…jinxed i tell you) and hangings or other horrific deaths soon get buried (excuse the pun) in the back of your mind. although i have been working with great people who sat medown,got me tea and choc biccies after my first death! nice bunch our lot! x

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