Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Student Paramedic Shopping List

So with my University start date looming, I'm obviously putting some money into the equipment I need for when I begin my journey as a Student Paramedic.

Now before you start parting with cash, get in contact with either Students currently on your course or a member of staff that lectures for your course. I opted to email one of the course leads and asked them for an essentials and nice to have list of things for their students, here's what I'm buying:

1) A Stethoscope

Essential for a Paramedic when carrying out examinations, and if you put a decent amount of money in now before you're a poor Uni Student then you have a quality instrument that will last a career. As far as picking one goes you can't go wrong with any Littmann Stethoscopes, I'd recommend the Classic II model for a reasonably priced but excellent Steth, you can also grab them cheap and have them engraved with your name for free from here: Medisave - Cheap Littmann Stethoscopes - Your eyes may water at the price, and yes you can go onto E-Bay and pick one up a cheap Steth for £5 but, having used these cheaper alternatives I can honestly say a good Stethoscope is a sound investment - you can even try and get your family to buy you one as a congratulations you got into Uni present!

2) JRCALC A4 + Pocket

JRCALC stands for the Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee - these guys produce the medical guidelines that all UK State Registered Paramedics work under, the book comes in two forms: the light-weight pocket sized version which acts as an aide-memoire, and the full A4 version which has more indepth information and advice. Buy both! Unfortunately they seem to cost quite abit, brand new the cheapest I can find them is around £50 for both here (SP Services - JRCALC) however I would recommend checking e-bay for second hand copies! Most Uni's require you have these but will not supply them to you free of charge.

3) A 'Duty Bag'

A small cheap grip bag (you're looking for "Gym Holdalls" really) not the big going on holiday sorts will be the right size to carry your essentials on placement, a spare set of Uniform, your Helmet, High-Vis Jacket and Fleece. This size keeps it big enough to hold said equipment, but small enough to not take up too much room on the vehicle you're working from. I'd recommend just going somewhere like Sports Direct and get a cheap one at the right size.

4) A Fob Watch/Watch with Seconds Hand

Another essential bit of kit for when you're doing Patient Obs is a watch with a seconds hand, you'll use this to count how many times someone breathes or their heart beats in 15/30 seconds then times it by 4/2 in order to find out what they're doing per-minute. Digital watches are okay but I find quickly looking at the second hand easier to work out when 15 seconds has elapsed rather than working it out in your head with a digital seconds display when you're also counting someones pulse at the same time! The reason I put a Fob Watch up also is it keeps your wrists clear which is good practice for infection control (and I've done CPR on a person whilst wearing a wrist watch and it's needlessly uncomfortable).

5) Ross And Wilson Anatomy and Physiology in Health and Illness (12th Edition)

I've used this book throughout my Military Medical Career and whilst at College so I was very happy to see it on the recommended text books for my Paramedics course. Brand new it will cost you between £20-£30 but on E-bay you can pick it up for as little as £10, just ensure it's the 12th Edition that you pickup. This will see you throughout all of  your extensive Anatomy and Physiology needs, it's excellent to refer to for assignments and to develop your learning further around lectures on A&P. Don't be without it!

6) Medical Dictionary

You can pick these up for less than £10 at WH Smiths brand new and even cheaper on E-Bay, very useful to refer to when you're doing assignments and you come across terms or medical conditions you are unsure of. Also, again, something else you can reference away from the internet when you're completing assignments.

7) British National Formulary (BNF)

You really can't be without this, personally I intent to carry it in my duty bag on Placement. Yes JRCALC has all the drugs that a Paramedic can administer, however from recent experience you will come across so many drugs that Patients are on for various conditions and the best way to learn them is to make a note and look them up inbetween jobs in your BNF until you slowly start to recognise names of drugs and what they do.

So there we go! Hopefully this gives some fuel for thought, if anyone has anything else they'd add to this list I'd love to hear from you!

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