As a knowledge and skill thirsty paramedic looking to improve the care and more importantly understanding of the care I’m offering patients I decided to head back to higher education. I’m fairly comfortable and confident studying at the higher education level and didn’t want to be away from studying for too long, and loose the academic ability. Having been looking for the next academic and clinical challenge for some time I found an education programme to suit me.
I began looking into MSc programmes in advanced clinical practice and critical care in 2017. I scoured all the UK universities offering such a programme and even looked at a programme being delivered from Norway as recommend by a colleague. There were lots of variables to consider, including time frame to complete the masters, geographical location, contact time/commitment with university, module choice, overall award obtained and of course the cost of study.
From the dozen or so programmes I analysed I struggled to find one that suited me…either distance from university was going to be an issue, some of the compulsory modules really didn’t interest me or it just didn’t fit with my current interest in paramedic practice. The MSc in Emergency and Resuscitation medicine offered by Queen Mary University London looked perfect. I contacted the course lead, Dr Tim Harris, who took the time to call me, answer my questions and even made me feel welcome to join a programme that had predominantly been taken up by doctors. Tim had reviewed my CV and gave me the assurances I needed that this programme wasn’t going to be beyond me.
I felt privileged to have my application accepted and couldn’t wait to get stuck in. I also managed to convince a colleague to enrol on the same course, so I have some local peer support.
I’m now 4 weeks into the course and the first module, although challenging, has been very interesting and has improved my understanding of critical appraisal and the processes that research take to shape and change medicine. The course is delivered completely by distance learning and allows me to access materials at a time that suits me. The module resources are posted online as a series of lectures, reading lists, MCQs and the module assignment. Every Thursday a live tutorial is held and both programme staff and students are involved in an online discussion/debate.
Over the course of two years I will study the following modules, all of which I’m really interested in and will support my current clinical practice:
- Academic Medicine and Critical Appraisal
- The Physiology of Shock, Shock Syndromes and Tools of Resuscitation
- Cardiac Arrest, Airway Management, Analgesia and Procedural Sedation
- Emergency Care
- Introduction to Trauma Care
- Diagnostic Tools in Critical Illness
- Toxicology and CBRN in Critical Illness
- Critical illness Prehospital and Mass Casualty Situations
There will be concepts and areas of medicine that are new to me, but I intend to fully engage myself in my studies and I’m currently trying to arrange some placement opportunities in ICUs, trauma centres and within prehospital emergency medicine (PHEM) organisations, that are delivering critical care.
I intend to update this blog regularly with my experiences of the course and it’s application to my practice within the NHS, as part of MedSkills Academy and Event Safety Group, as well as any crossover into practice within my volunteer role with the mountain rescue.
Nick Wright – Director/Paramedic