Your time out in practice as a Student Paramedic is an integral part of this degree and one in which is an unforgettable experience. Placement accounts for more than half of your programme each year, which means you’ll need to give up some time, but you’ll reap the rewards if you strike the right work-life balance. Placement enables you to see your learning put into practice right in front of you. This ‘balance’ is different for each individual and takes time and practice to figure out the best method for you. The goal of accomplishing this will not only help to manage the responsibilities of your course, but will also strengthen your individual wellbeing during a course that is highly engaging.
When students are learning how to organise their new responsibilities that come with their course, whether they are doing a Health Science course or not, the University of Surrey provides many opportunities and aid. I found that to personally achieve this balance I needed to be able to commit myself to my practice whilst also providing myself with time to ‘switch off’, instead using some of my time to commit to other activities that the University provides.
I have included below examples ideas and methods I used to achieve my own personal work-life balance, a selection of the many that could help you.
Clubs and Societies-
Societies provide a break from your course through the use of events, socials and meetings. There are various societies on offer from Scuba Diving to baking. Societies allow you to meet different people from outside of your course allowing you to talk about things which are entirely different to health care.
Each health science course has its own society that is entirely run by students, for the students. The Paramedic Society, provides social events alongside opportunities to further your education and add to your knowledge and skill set. Each year, the society encourages their “Fambulance Scheme”. This scheme groups students together from each of the different years, providing new students with a ‘family’ of other students and the advice and guidance that comes with it.
A useful yet sometimes easily forgotten tool to help you manage your time, is some form of diary/ calendar. Whether this is online or on paper, having the ability to display and keep record of your commitments, placements and assignments whilst leaving time to relax. Equally, there is nothing wrong with your schedule changing, it is all about finding the most suitable option for yourself whether that is planning your time months ahead or taking it week by week. Tools such as these can prevent you feeling overwhelmed and confused and ultimately stay on top of placement and lectures.
Personal Tutor and Mentor-
Within this paramedic science degree you not only have the support of your personal tutor throughout your time at university, but you also have your ambulance trust and in-practice mentor that are there to support you. Whether you are in a lecture room or the back of an ambulance, there are multiple people to support you in your learning. It is easy to book a one-to-one meeting with your personal tutor if you feel as though you are struggling or require help in finding the appropriate work-life balance, they were once where we were and have also helped many students throughout the years. By having this multifaceted level of support, it provides students with the ability to find the right person to seek advice and guidance.
Ultimately, all of the ideas available require a level of participation from students. So, it is completely possible to have the right ‘work-life’ balance if you are willing to achieve it and seek the support that is available. The University of Surrey, offers the support needed to make this possible and set you up for a successful career as a paramedic.
Second-year BSc Paramedic Science Student