Saturday, 15 February 2014

Let's talk about using your "previous experience"

Having been successful at Interviews and gained a few offers from University for Paramedic Practice I feel like I can comment on previous experience and how to use it.

When I was preparing for my Uni Interviews all of my friends, relatives and fellow Access students would happily tell me that several years as a Combat Medic in the Army will mean I would breeze my way into Uni... I wish I'd shared their confidence!

No, what I realised very quickly was that you could have all of the experience in the world under your belt however if you couldn't articulate it and make it relevant to the role of a Paramedic then it isn't much use at all. I like to think of it as giving two people a Gun, one knows how to load it and fire it accurately and the other knows only what he's seen on TV at best - now they both have a Gun, they can both kill so they should be equal, however one persons applied knowledge of the weapon means he will likely be more effective with it.

When you get to Interview, you will be up against other people who say volunteer with St Johns/Community First Responders/British Red Cross (you will also be up against people who work in hospitals, for the ambulance service already etc) - some may even have twice as many years under their belt as you. Time alone means nothing if you cannot show what you have learned from your experience and more importantly, draw out relevent examples of what you have done in answer to interview questions or on your Personal Statement.

So prepare for those "what would you do if..." situational questions and be able to say "actually I have an example of when I've had to do this..." as this will put you miles ahead of the competition when it comes to this crucial stage.

And finally, don't get caught out being able to say "Yes I've volunteered with St Johns Ambulance for 9 years" and think that alone will get you into Uni, think of strong examples of when you've had to deal with difficult patients, patients that don't speak English, times when you've had to show emotional resilience, times when you've had to take charge in the best interest of your patient etc.

I hope that someone finds this useful!

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