Saturday, April 22, 2006

Module G - Cardiology & Airway Managment

Well it has been a while since I have communicated with you all, I can only apologise for this, but I have been studying and working hard. I have now completed my 3rd week and had my end of module exams....

The 3rd week of module G is a blur of activity, you start on the Monday with "Mock" exams to get you in the right mind frame for the written exams, this goes on until the Tuesday afternoon when you have now completed your written and multi choice "Mock" papers you are then put through practical assessments that are made to be difficult, awkward and stressful so that you are thinking in the right way to face your final practicals. Wednesday arrives before you know it and suddenly you are faced with 3 hours of written exams, this includes an hour to complete the multi choice aspect of the exam. Wednesday afternoon you feel totally deflated, washed out and thinking that you know nothing. You have to stop dwelling about your exams and now focus on the forthcoming practicals on the Thursday.

I had a break from the stress of the college on Wednesday evening when I was "kidnapped" and taken to Peebles to have a night out of the college and a meal with Kal and a colleage Ms A(who has recently completed her paramedic course and understands the stress). The meal is lovely, we sit and chat, go for a walk along the river and meet another colleage who is out walking his dog, we chat and then head back to the college for coffee. On arriving at the college, we grab a coffee and sit with the wife of one of my training officers (she has popped into the college to wish me good luck, as she is a friend and ex college of mine) we all chat and then Kal and Ms A bid me good luck and head home. I so want to be going with them, but unfortunately I have to stay and do my practical assessments......


We are all in the restaurant for breakfast, non of us eat much as our stomach's are churning, we walk strangely quietly in a single line to the classroom (if you were an outsider looking in you would think that we were going to the execution chamber), we arrive and are greeted by our instructor (0845hrs) and are briefed on the running order of the day, we are given our places for the assessments (I am the duty student and have responsibility to ensure that all the equipment is set out properly, this had been done at 0825hrs and checked by our instructor) and then he leaves. We all walk again in single file to the waiting area (which is the coffee lounge) and sit.... I am first and at 0905hrs I walk with an Officer to the Syndicate A room for my Airway assessment, I meet the Consultant Anaethnetist and start my 20 minutes of hell... I talk, I use the equipment with ease, I rectify problems thrown at me, I even begin to show off.... I think to myself "I'm good, I know this and I'm going to prove to you that I should pass!!!!" I finish the 20 minutes and I thank the assessment team and head out of the room back to the coffee lounge.

I arrive downstairs and enter my time on the sheet (We are required to sign in and out of the assessments to ensure that we are all given the same timescale and no one is grilled for any length of time), I tell my colleages that I am going for a walk around the building and with this I am off, walking the wooden area, the driveway the road around the college and then back into the college. I arrive back and there is conversations starting about the cardiology station, which I am last to go into, so I avoid this as I do not want to know about the 3rd degree heart block and Asystolic arrest scenario that the other student received as their assessment.


I am summoned to the cardiology station for my final assessment, now I have been waiting for nearly 2 1/2hrs and my stomach is doing the twist, I have been to the toilet 12 times for nervous peeing (maybe all the coffee didn't help either)....
I walk in, there is a dummy lying on the floor for my resuscitation assessment, and the Officer who escorted me in introduces me to the Cardiology Nurse who is doing my assessment. We chat and then she explains my scene, I go into auto pilot, once again showing that I know my stuff, I then deal with the second scenario which is a male with central chest pain and managed this, talking constantly, stating the correct dosage of drugs and explaining how this is calculated etc. I leave the assessment and feel confident, but know that I could have done better, I stumbled over my words when it came to rhythm recognition and didn't come across as confident as I would have liked to have been.... oh well that's it over with.

We all go for lunch, still not really eating much, start to chat and end up doing post mortum's on the scenarios we were all given. We go back to class and sit and wait, and wait, and wait. Eventually we are allowed to go to our rooms or leave the building and are told that we will get our results on friday morning.

Thursday night we are all at the bar in the college, some drinking more than others, still lots of talk about the assessments.

Friday has arrived, we are all sitting in the classroom and one by one are taken away for our results and feedback, no one is confident, no one is sure, but the smiles are laughter of relief start as one by one people start coming back in.... then it is my turn I am second last, as I stand up to go through, my colleague who is after me is up and out of the room, he takes my place HE JUMPED THE QUEUE!!! BUGGER!!! oh well so I sit and wait again, he returns, quiet, head down, we all think he is joking, but unfortunately he has failed.... It hits us hard, SOMEONE IN THE GROUP FAILED! It is my turn now, I walk the 5 feet from our class to the office opposite and it feels like an age to arrive. I knock, wait and then hear "Enter" I go in, The Officer who is giving the feedback is sitting head down, I think "Oh my god I'm next" He looks up from his mountain of paper and stands up pushes out his hand and breaks into a smile and congratulates me, now my brain is going slow and it takes a moment to understand, he said "Congratulations" OH YEAH I HAVE PASSED!!!! He explains my results, which are much higher than I expect and he goes on to tell me that I have been given a commendation for my airway as the consultant was so impressed with my knowledge and skills.

I return to the class, break the news and we all relax, we feel sorry for our colleague who is now leaving us, but are happy that we have passed. I start sending messages to everyone telling them the news and my phone is just about able to cope with the volume of texts I receive with various messages of congratulation.

Ah home time, I drive up the road from the college and think well only 3 more weeks to go and that means 2 more assessments!!

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Friday, April 07, 2006

1 week down

Well as it says, I have just completed my first week at the SAC (Scottish Ambulance College) on my IHCD paramedic course, The first week as you can imagine begins with some introduction to the course ahead, so on Monday morning we are completing the necessary paperwork that tells you that should you leave the Service they can claim the £6,000 costs associated with your residential aspect of your training!!!!

I waken up on Monday, full of good intentions with regards to going to the gym, but I then try and get out of the lovely bed in my room to go to my en-suite bathroom and notice that I have problems breathing, I feel sore and generally ache all over, I look in the mirror and see that I have developed cold sores and my nose is now streaming like a flowing tap, Joy I have a cold before I even start my course, oh well only paperwork I think..... Boy was I wrong.

It is now mid morning and we are starting to look at intubation (passing a tube down a patient's windpipe to secure it and assist in their breathing), after lunch we learn needle cricothyrotomy (putting the biggest needle you can find into someone's neck to help them breath) and finally chest decompression (Once again putting the biggest needle into someone's chest to help re-inflate their collapsed lung) and this is only the first day........

For the rest of the week we go over various different aspects of the above skills, sit multi choice exams and short written papers and start to look at the drugs involved in dealing with a patient who is in cardiac arrest (or Advance Cardiac Life Support - ACLS for short). Finally today we get our test results and I am "Coming along nicely" and I'm to "keep up the good work with the practical scenarios" I feel a bit more happy tonight, knowing that I am on the right tracks and hopefully will still be there in another 5 weeks!

Ah well I am off to relax and remember the lovely italian meal that I have just had with Kal, Oh it is nice to be home for the weekend and to see him, oh and to be taken out for a lovely meal by him :D