So if you are a Paramedic new to Primary Care, following Health Education England’s RoadMap to Practice under the additional roles then you probably feel like a small fish in a big pond again. The feeling you had sat in the crew room on your first day dreading the radio to ring and being sent to your first job. Going back to university for the first time did keep me awake at night worrying if I had done the right thing or if I could even complete the First Contact Practitioner course and make it to stage two in the HEE RoadMap.
The First Contact Practitioner course is a level 7 master’s module and is a requirement for all PCN Paramedics to complete unless you can assimilate on to this stage via a portfolio of evidence. Level 7 I hear you saying, yes level 7 and let’s just say it was challenge for this old dog, but if you’re a Paramedic you don’t like being told “you can’t do that” as this immediately releases the following words which come tumbling out of all Paramedics mouths “Oh yeah let’s have a go then”. It’s a natural inbuilt parasympathetic reaction which all paramedics have been born with and the trigger point is being told you just can’t do it!
So with the bit well and truly between my teeth I decided on University of Central Lancashire as I liked the look of the module and what I had to achieve during my seven months. As the start date of the module loomed closer it did leave me with the dread and fear I associated with driving to a paediatric cardiac arrest, yes you know that feeling deep down in the pit of your stomach and performing many backflips in there too. But now I’m done I liken it to the same feeling when you get there it’s no more than a common cold and the sense of relief washes over you making you take a breath.
The feeling that I had gone back in time to be an 80%’er all over again in the ambulance Service sent shivers down my spine. An 80%’er was the term used for new Ambulance staff while you were completing your training which everyone changed to ‘80 placentas’ which was just some of the affectionate titles we were given during our journey in to emergency medicine and was always referred to as character building!
As part of our module requirements all students must complete 75 hours of clinical practice within Primary Care. I chose to complete my hours at Hawkesley Medical Centre which has 4,456 registered patients, double the national average. I was introduced to my mentor Dr Hadian and one of the first things that struck me was how friendly everyone was towards me, a total change from the ambulance service I spent so many years in. It did not matter how many stupid questions I asked while I was there, and oh I asked a lot of those, everyone took time to help me with whatever I needed. I was part of the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) and my opinion was sort and valued. In all my time at Hawkesley I have to say sitting back and observing the other GP’s, Nurses, HCA’s and reception staff one thing stood out massively, that no matter how clinically trained or non-clinically trained the staff were they all cared for their patients 100% and regularly went the extra mile. I coined a phrase when I said goodbye to both Dr Hadian and Dr Drever, the partners, that I genuinely believe that Hawkesley is the gold standard of Primary Care and I thanked them for putting up with me for 7 months.
So did I pass, 49 years old, not been to university before, did not know what ‘et al’ really meant, but your forgetting that one critical aspect…………..I’m a Paramedic and Paramedics have a genetic code not allowing them to be told they can’t do something, so yes I did pass.
Special thanks to:
My wife and family
Dr Hadian & Dr Drever with all the Hawkesley Medical Centre staff
University of Central Lancashire & Kurt my tutor