On the road: Medical students' experiences on paramedic placements
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Background: Undergraduate students' in several Australian medical courses undertake short placements with Paramedics to increase their awareness of biopsychosocial factors affecting health, provide opportunities to apply knowledge and clinical skills in health contexts and to develop inter-professional knowledge. Aim: The purpose of this study was to provide the first report of medical students experiences on Paramedic placements, by identifying the opportunities and range of clinical activities they experienced, and to seek feedback to improve placements. Methods: Students (n=33, 72% response rate) completed an 11-question post-placement survey requiring Likert-scale responses with open-ended questions requiring narrative responses. Results: Students employed communicative, observational and basic clinical skills 'on the job' during the placement. They had exposure to a range of experiences from non-emergency patient transfers to violence and intoxication, trauma, suicide and death. Students witnessed the importance of different individuals as well as the importance of the inter-professional network in delivering pre-hospital care. Overall, students were over-confident of their abilities, but found the placements to be valuable learning opportunities that met the intended outcomes. Conclusion: Suggested improvements include better orientation, management of expectations and debriefing, shifts with a higher rate of call outs, direct clinical teaching and introduction of a 'patient journey' approach to the placement. © 2012 Informa UK Ltd All rights reserved.
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