Sunday, 12 January 2014

Gaining that relevent experience

Okay so you've decided to take the plunge and embark on the long road of becoming a Paramedic. But now you need some experience to talk about on your Personal Statement and at Interview.

My first article is going to look at ways that you can volunteer around your current role if it isn't relevant or around study to gain that valuable experience.

Community First Responder
So first on my list is the Community First Responder which aslong as you can drive and have access to a car is an excellent choice to gain experience (though bear in mind that alot of
other candidates will be thinking the same). You will respond to 999 calls alongside front-line ambulance staff and you have the huge benefit of being employed as a volunteer within an ambulance trust - this means your regular exposure to emergency medical situations will gain you that valuable first aid and care experience and being able to spend time with Paramedics on scene means that you will be able to pick up the vocabulary, current affairs within the trust, and if you are really lucky then you'll meet current Student Paramedics out and about and you get to pick their brains also. Another benefit is the training and selection process is relatively short so if you left it until the last minute to gain experience this is a solid choice - please note, doing the training and then not responding afterwards just so you can put it on your CV is both stupid for you as you will have zero experience to talk about in an interview and more importantly a huge waste of time and resources for the employing ambulance trust.

St Johns Ambulance
Another firm favorite with prospective Paramedics, St Johns will give you a firm background in first aid and regular exposure to patients at events and festivals. Generally training will take longer and gaining enough experience through event work will take a little longer so don't leave this choice until the last minute of applying. Recently they've become very selective with who they take on (and quite rightly too!) due to the increase of people just wanting to gain experience then leave as soon as it suits their CV. Just remember, when St Johns have an emergency they call 999 - with first responding you are that 999 response so think about the sort of experience you would like.

British Red Cross
Now this one that you don't see as often as the two options mentioned above. However if you've left yourself plenty of time before applying then volunteering with the BRC can really set you apart from other candidates - there is scope to get your needed first aid experience and even first responding, but also one on one care with the elderly and even things like disaster relief that will really make your personal statement stand out.

Mountain Rescue
This is an option that I really like, you'll need to give yourself plenty of lead time before UCAS opens as the training takes time. But what you will get from it is not only first aid skills, you will be able to talk about difficult patient extrication's and you'll have some excellent examples of leadership and team work, and that you have had to use your skills in remote and dangerous environments. Definitely not one to overlook if you want experience that will set you apart from the competition and enjoy North Face clothing.

Not got any mountains nearby but do have a coast? Just like Mountain Rescue experience with the RNLI will really set you apart from others - you've got your First Aid experience, you can talk about Life Guarding and complicated boat work where teamwork and leadership will be important to carry out rescue work
for your Patients.

So these are the sort of options if you aren't working somewhere you can relate to the role of a Paramedic already or if you're in full-time study and need that valuable experience. My next article will focus on how to apply this experience fully to get the most from it at Interview.

I hope this helps!

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