What is the Prehospital Care Programme?
Prehospital care is a sub-specialty of Emergency Medicine, and St Bartholomew’s & The Royal London is in a unique position to enable undergraduate medical students to experience this new field through the London Ambulance Service (LAS) and the Trust’s department of Emergency Medicine & Prehospital Care (a department which currently attracts doctors and paramedics from around the world to train with HEMS – (the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service).
The Prehospital Care Programme aims to involve medical students in the basics of Prehospital Care by having them complete shifts with a designated paramedic/doctor mentor, who will teach and guide the students throughout their learning. The specially designed programme will not only provide education and support for medical students, but will also engage them in integrated, multi-agency, training from the London Ambulance Service (LAS) and HEMS.
This unique educational pathway is a 4 Year Student Selected Component of the MBBS degree, and aims to make Barts & The London a centre of excellence for this type of undergraduate Prehospital Care Training.
How It All Began
The Prehospital Care Programme developed from the ambitions of an individual medical student at Barts & The London. Emma Lightbody selected Barts & The London School of Medicine because of an attraction to Prehospital Care. After spending a year as an observer with the London Ambulance Service and several months working closely with HEMS (both in extra-curricular time), Emma was keen to expand her personal contacts into an academic programme linked to the medical school which other students could benefit from. The initiation of a Pilot PCP was in November 2007, and this has been a great success, leading to further expansion of the team.
- Team work
- Teaching and learning
- Leading by example
- Non-hierarchical structure
Broad Aims and Objectives
- To provide undergraduate medical students with an understanding of and experiences in Prehospital Care.
- To acquire a set of appropriate clinical skills for students at this level and in this context.
- To acquire a set of appropriate communication skills for this context.
- To contribute to the Student Selected Components programme at Barts & The London School of Medicine.
- To instruct medical students on issues relating to personal and team safety in the Prehospital environment.
- To encourage learning in an interprofessional context.
- To encourage interest in Prehospital Care as a career option.
Mentoring is a central focus of the Prehospital Care Programme. As a Development Team, we believe that mentoring especially in the prehospital environment is invaluable.
Mentoring is primarily provided by the paramedics and doctors involved in the programme, who are each given the responsibility of mentoring a medical student. The mentoring role involves supporting the students learning by assisting them with the completion of specified learning objectives, being a positive role model, and being available to offer general advice and support.
In return for their efforts, our doctors and paramedics receive support themselves from the medical school’s Trust Teacher’s Programme (provided by Dr Goodsman), which is available for each individual to complete. In addition to this, mentors will also watch the progression of their medical student as their skills and understanding develops over time.
The mentoring programme has expanded further to give the senior medical students the opportunity to mentor one of the new starters. This provides a further person to offer support and advice. As a team we hope that having a senior medical student who has undertaken the same learning curve in the recent past will prove to be advantageous for our new team members.
In addition to this, each and every member of the team accepts a general responsibility to help and support any other member of the Prehospital Care Programme.
Why it works
Within the team, both students and paramedics have seen positive benefits the mentoring system can bring. Both groups have described the two-way flow of information and learning, and have recognised the benefits of pairing a medical student and a paramedic together. In particular, as the medical student progresses through the MBBS course, an increasing amount of specialist knowledge and information is gained which can then be shared with the paramedic mentor.
The variety of professionals involved provides a wealth of knowledge which can be shared within the team.