The Pre-hospital care SSC (Student Selected Component) has won praise from the Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care. Samuel Bulford, the student who created it, here tells us more:
“Pre-hospital care relates to any medicine which happens outside of a place of definitive care. In the UK, this is largely undertaken by Ambulance Services. There is growing appreciation of the role of Doctors in delivering this care and indeed one can now enter specialist training in this sub-specialty at ST5.
Over the past three years, I have undertaken considerable shadowing with Ambulance Services across the South of England. I quickly realised that pre-hospital care exposure offers a tremendous learning opportunity for any future doctor, not just those – like I -intending on pursuing this training pathway. The often frenetic, stressful and challenging work of pre-hospital care enhances communication skills, the management of diagnostic uncertainty, the appreciation of the patient journey and resilience under stress. It is also the very definition of inter-disciplinary teamwork and respect.
I created a year 1 double block SSC which involved London Ambulance Service (LAS) shadowing, monthly teaching forums and reflective practice. Along with an ED Consultant and LAS paramedic, we successfully evaluated the programme and proved that all the attributes mentioned above – and more – were enhanced by being on the programme.
Following this success, we now offer three SSCs across years one, two and six. Year one remains the same. In year two, students shadow the medics at Wembley National Stadium with whom we now have a training agreement and are the organisation’s “Official Academic Training Partner”. In year six, students ride-out with the LAS whilst undertaking a more clinical role. Monthly teaching forums remain and are now accompanied by optional LAS clinical audit and high fidelity simulation. We have also designed our own logo and have a committee training scheme in order to secure longevity. Longevity is also aided with the provision of around £20,000 SIFT funding per annum.
At the recent Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care annual conference at which I spoke, the UCL programme was described as having “set the absolute precedent” for student pre-hospital care programmes. Already, I have been approached by other medical schools wishing to emulate what UCL now offers.
Pre-hospital care offers unrivalled learning opportunities for medical students. I hope over the years to come the programme may grow within the curriculum in order to help train truly 21st century Doctors.”