If you’re a paramedic student, a nurse or a medical officer and you have organised to come and do a paramedic ride along or ambulance ride along, these are some good words of wisdom or advice:
1. Show up early – no paramedic is going to want to show you stuff if you can’t be bothered turning up on time.
2. Dress presentable and ready to do the job (even if it is just an observational shift) – most Ambulance Services will advise you what to wear and what to bring
3. Make sure you have completed all the legal and medical documents that most Ambulance Services make you complete.
4. Remember, what happens on the truck stays on the truck! Basically, you are about to start walking into total strangers homes, when they are most vulnerable and provide (or observe paramdics providing) medical help in an emergency, so remember to respect your patients privacy, confidentiality and wishes. You will notice that when paramedics chat about their jobs and debrief (even when they’re making fun of certain patients) – that they never mention names, addresses or any identifiable measures.
5. Be interested in what is going on – if you’re not interested, what are you doing this for? Most paramedics are more than happy to impart what knowledge they have on anyone who keen and eager to learn… likewise however, most paramedics will gladly not show you anything if you don’t appear interested.
6. Enjoy yourself, this is an amazing experience.
7. If you’re a paramedic student -remember to keep your ears open and your mouth shut! You’ll learn alot more that way. This doesn’t mean to proclude you from discussing cases and things with the paramedic who’s looking after you, but just that you can learn alot from these people.
8. If you’re a medical student – try not to make us feel like we don’t know what we’re doing, and try to avoid telling us that your starting salary will be higher than our 8th year there after wage….
9. If you’re currently a nurse, I hope this provides an interesting insight into “why we didn’t get around to intubating, cannulating, inserting a naso gastric tube, and several other things for our patient before we arrive in hospitals”
10. If you’re currently a medical officer, I this provides an interesting insight into the unique challenges that paramedics face when the provide medical care in an out of hospital setting (which is nothing like a hospital. When we tube a patient, chances are they’re not fasted and they aren’t on a bed at chest hight).