London calls CSU paramedicine students


Wednesday 31 Aug 2016

Heart attacks, breathing problems, stabbings, falls and mental health patients are among the challenges being tackled head-on by Charles Sturt University (CSU) students during an international work placement with the London Ambulance Service (LAS).

The month-long international study experience involves 15 final-year Bachelor of Clinical Practice (Paramedic) students from CSU in Bathurst, Port Macquarie and postgraduate CSU Online.

The students arrived in the United Kingdom (UK) in early August and were introduced to the London Ambulance Service, which is hailed as the busiest in the UK. They familiarised themselves with monitoring equipment, kits, and vehicles and spent time practising cardiac arrest management using what is known as a 'LAS pit crew' approach.

Rostered on day, evening and night shifts, the students are now working alongside London paramedics out of specially designated ambulance training stations. They're each allocated a clinical mentor, many of whom are Australian.  

On-hand to watch over the students on their final ambulance clinical placement is Ms Tania Johnston, lecturer in paramedicine in the School of Biomedical Sciences at CSU in Port Macquarie.

"As expected, the students have been called out across London to a variety of jobs ranging from falls to mental health issues and serious traumas," Ms Johnston said.

"A couple of our students have assisted with serious trauma jobs involving helicopter responses as well as cardiac arrests and very confronting self-harm cases."

Student Mr Nathan Ross from CSU in Port Macquarie said, "London has given me the opportunity to interact with a multitude of cultures and people of diverse backgrounds.

"It has presented me with practical communication challenges but also avenues to get around them.

"I have had the opportunity to work alongside many paramedics in a variety of trauma situations, and with patients with medical complaints, mental health cases and much more.

"I am grateful to have had this international experience as it's developed my communication, clinical practice and teamwork skills to prepare me for a job in 2017."

Ms Johnston said, "I have been contacted by Station Officers when the paramedic students are involved in responding to critical incidents.

"I've facilitated numerous casual group debriefings with the students and I am impressed with their ability to reflect on their work practice.

"They are very open about their responses to emotional and physical trauma, death and critical incidents.

"This is an important time in their paramedic education when they apply theory to practice and they need to feel supported by the ambulance service and Charles Sturt University."

Ahead of their departure to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday 7 September, the CSU students will take part in a recruitment assessment day.

"Many of the students are keen to work in London and have had the chance to talk with our graduates now employed by the Service.

"They're optimistic that they can secure employment prior to returning to complete their degree.

"They are also keen to learn about National Ambulance Service in Abu Dhabi where former Charles Sturt University lecturer in paramedicine, Brian Haskins, is planning a personalised tour."

The four-week clinical placement with the London Ambulance Service is supported by CSU Global, which offers a range of programs to provide students with international study experiences. Read more here.


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Media contact: Fiona Halloran and Emily Malone , (02) 6933 2207

Media Note:

The paramedic students are due back in Australia on Sunday 11 September.

The international clinical placement with the London Ambulance Service involves seven paramedic students from CSU in Bathurst, six from Port Macquarie and two postgraduate students.

For further information contact CSU Media.

Photo: CSU paramedicine student Mr Nathan Ross (middle) on the job in London.