Third-year Paramedic Science student Eloisa Gatenby chose to study at St George’s because of its facilities and the passionate staff. Here she discusses the course and what it’s like studying in Tooting.

Eloisa Gatenby

Why did you choose St George's?

I chose St Georges due to its incredible facilities and the dedicated team of staff.

When I started at St George’s the paramedic simulation suite was still in the construction phases but you could see how amazing it would be. It's a key aspect of learning here and it’s been so beneficial to my learning.

The passion the staff have really comes through. The staff have different specialisms so they are all up to date on current clinical practice.

How is the Paramedic Science course taught at St Georges? 

Paramedic Science is taught through a combination of lectures, theoretical sessions, plus practical and skills-based simulation.

Throughout all three years of the course you will learn the theory and anatomy, then the skill required to manage it. You practice until you are signed of as competent. After being signed off you can practice clinically on real patients under the supervision of your mentor.

The practical elements of teaching are essential for our learning. Through simulation we are able to safely run scenarios and learn in real-life situations through the use of our immersion room and simulation ambulances.

The teaching staff at St George’s are current Paramedics. How does this enhance your teaching?

I think this is one of the best parts of the course. The staff have so much experience in a really varied backgrounds.

This means that they can put us in scenarios they themselves have been in. 

Recently we attended a civil nuclear police training event with one of our lecturers who is a special operations paramedic. This put us in a real situation with blank gun fire which allowed us to experience working in a challenging and hostile situation.

The backgrounds of some of the other staff include mental health, air ambulance paramedics and, cardiology experts. Some have an international background having worked in South Africa and Dubai.

Tell us about your placements studying Paramedic Science.

Placements start quite early on in the course. Right from your first year you are able to observe and learn the job. Placements work in blocks, but many choose to do additional shifts on days off from lectures.

In first year you spend time in hospital, with patient transport and with the London Ambulance service. You start this placement just six weeks into the course. 

Second year involves more ambulance placements which is great because you can practice your clinical skills on real patients. It also involves hospital placements where you spend time in A&E, maternity, theatres and intensive or cardiac care units.

In the final year we do more community placements with alternative care pathways and spend time with a GP as well as in an urgent care centre. 

The majority of your third year placement is with the ambulance where you manage patients on your own. This is great as it really prepares you to be a qualified paramedic at the end of the degree.

In the final year there is also the opportunity to do an elective placement with many people choosing to go abroad to, South Africa, America, Australia and Ecuador, to gain an international perspective on pre-hospital emergency medicine. 

As a paramedic student, you face some challenging and difficult situations whilst on placement. A particularly challenging situation I faced was with a young child in cardiac arrest. The clinical aspect was fine but I had to explain to the family what was happening and comfort them.

This was my first paediatric arrest, so I spoke to my mentor about the situation and wrote a reflective piece of work about the situation. 

What is the highlight of being a student in London?

Being in London means there is always something going on. London is a city that doesn’t sleep so there is a never-ending list of new places to explore.

London is a great place to study and as a paramedic student, it provides some amazing placements that you just wouldn’t find elsewhere.

If you had to sum up studying at St George’s in three words, what would they be and why?

Inspiring, fun and high-achieving. Working and learning alongside your future colleagues who are ambitious, and learning from practicing clinicians results in preparing you to be the best.  

What’s it like studying in Tooting and London?

Tooting is a really diverse area so there is always something new going on and it also has great travel links making it easy to travel to central London. 

If you want a break from the city, there is a lot of green space around, including Wimbledon common, Richmond Park and the River Thames.

London is a great place to study and as a paramedic student, it provides some amazing placements that you just won’t find elsewhere. 

What is the St George’s campus like?

The campus is quite unique as it is rather small and is based in the hospital, resulting in a really close community of students and staff.

The campus is in a great location, and the atmosphere is great. The state-of-the-art facilities help prepare you for your future career. 


Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 December 2017 12:02