How the Newbies view Magwitch

About three weeks ago the latest bunch of Newbies pitched up at their designated stations. These are the direct entry candidates who’ve completed their initial 3 months classroom training and are now ready to begin their 12 month probationary/training period. They’re known in our service as ‘Under 12s’. Over the next year they’ll be expected to complete a competency based portfolio covering all the topics in the Technicians’ handbook and additional case studies based on jobs they’ve done. They’ll also have quarterly assessments and, following completion of the final one, they’ll be Fully Qualified Ambulance men/women. It used to be known as getting your Miller Certificate. (something to do with a government report about the basic standard for newly qualified ambulance staff. Maybe a reader can tell us more.) I was one on the very first intake to do this portfolio crap stuff. It’s as boring as hell and is more an exercise in perseverance than any practical value. Getting paired up with an enthusiastic partner who’s willing to show you the ropes is far more beneficial. I was lucky enough to have my good mate Shaun as my first partner; one of the best on-the-road teachers I’ve come across.

Now that I’ve been in service for a few years I’ve noticed that I’m turning into one of those annoying old gits who keeps saying “I remember when…” To be fair, my former partner has been in for 43 years; he’s the longest serving member. Now he has got some interesting stories to tell along the “I remember when….” lines.

The direct entry intake will soon become a thing of the past. The most common route these days is to complete a foundation or full degree in Paramedical Sciences or something similar. I find it interesting that only 10-15 years ago the only way in was to complete at least a year on the Patient Transport Service. The idea being that a good ambulance person should be comfortable talking to, dealing with and lifting patients. Now, whilst the job has progressed with new techniques and new drugs it’s not changed that much. Today however you’re expected to have a degree to get in. Why? It just seems to be the way the likes of nursing and ambulance work are going. In my view you don’t need a degree to do this job. In fact most of the entrants who’ve arrived having completed one beforehand are usually gone within 3 years. Like so many new nurses they’re expecting lots of exciting stuff, like on Casualty. Picking granny up off the floor and dealing with the Friday/Saturday night pissheads was never in the curriculum.

So, with the start of the new university term there are many students setting out on their first steps to becoming a paramedic and some of them are blogging about their experiences. If you fancy finding out how they’re getting on here’s a couple I’m following:

Carmelo Alongi: currently doing a foundation degree with LAS
Trainee Paramedic from Yorkshire: another university entrant.

Of course I mustn’t forget the lovely and ever popular Merys Jones who (quite rightly I believe) is setting out on the long and arduous road to becoming a doctor rather than joining an ambulance service.

I wish them all the best in their studies and I’ll be following their progress with interest.


3 Responses to Newbies

  1. Carmelo says:

    Thank you kind sir, much appreciated. Just out of interest any chance of us arranging what we talked about over the e-mail anytime soon? Just give me a date (except the 6th, 7th and 22nd of november lol)

  2. Yeah – it used to be that for many jobs the most appropriate way to get trained was to do the training on the job. Now everything needs a ‘degree’. Silly, if you ask me. I suppose if it recognizes the fact that people who do jobs like yours are just as critical as those who do jobs that traditionally used to require a degree then that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, I think it’s just devaluing the degrees and leaving a lot of people in debt. Plus, it leaves fewer good job options for the folks who shine when they get the chance to do the job and learn while they’re doing it, but who are just no good at jumping through the hoops of an academic course.

  3. Trainee Paramedic says:

    Thankyou for including me in that post. Having read your’s and several others for the past few months, im hoping that mine can be as interesting as yours has been.

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