Over the last few months, I've had a steady stream of students on the ambulance with me. At first I thought to my self "What in blazes can I teach these people - I know squat and am far too new myself! Eeeek!" Having someone watching you, questioning your every move is quite daunting! And with the rapid pace that the Paramedic profession moves on, often they have had more recent and up to date training than me!
But, after the first few days I started to relax a bit. Even enjoy it. Having 3 people on a truck is certainly more fun and relaxing than just two! Those extra pair of hands, however inexperienced, always come in handy.
However, throughout the whole experience of different students, all at different levels, it has highlighted to me just how much I still need to learn, re-learn and keep learning! On a number of occasions something has come up, a question asked, an odd situation occurred, and where as before I'd have limited time to absorb what has gone on before being punted to the next job, I now have people asking me the most important question we as Paramedics can ask....
Why did that happen?
The enquiring mind. Vital for our job. Not only in the here and now of a job so we can predict what is likely to happen and prepare for it but, as I am continually being reminded, after the job. As I have been training I've had a bit more freedom to spend more time at hospital to debrief my students after jobs. It's allowed me not only to help them understand what went on but to give ME time to absorb it, to question what I did and to think how I may have done it better. Yes, I've been reflecting!
I know the R word can be scary for some people. Thankfully having gone through the university route into the Paramedic world I was exposed to this often alien concept from the off. Not that I enjoyed it, bloody essays! However, now that it is less formal, now I'm not being marked, I'm realising that I'm doing it more and more. I probably should write some of it down in a slightly more formal manner, keeps the HPC (Regulatory body for Paramedics in the UK) off my back! Particularly when a student asks me something which I'm sure I know, but do go and look up just to be sure. (Pleased to say that most of the time my poor grey cells have actually remembered the right things!)
So, what started out as a scary, daunting prospect has turned into a really positive experience. It's keeping me on my toes, keeping me reflecting and keeping me asking "Why?"
For those of you who are students, bombard your tutors / mentors / trainers or what ever you call them with as many questions as you can. Keep them thinking.
For everyone else, if you get the opportunity to take on a student, jump at the chance. It is not only good for them but it WILL help improve your practice as well!