Longitudinal Placements (LP) are clinical observerships organized by the student in domain of his/her choice to gain relevant clinical knowledge in that area of medicine
What LP did you do?
I did the Hamilton EMS ambulance ride-along 12 hour shift.
How did you go about contacting and arranging the LP?
Contacted Nancy Weller who provided me with the paperwork required by Hamilton EMS to arrange date. I gave Nancy 3 dates that I was available to do the shift, and shortly after she gave me my shift date and time.
What were the two main things you learned from the LP?
It gave me a new perspective of the first response team and how important their role is in health care. I also learned how a patient's condition is coded (code 4=Lights on!) and how dispatch communicates with the paramedics to make sure that they are cared for as quickly as possible.
What did you wish you knew beforehand to help you in your LP?
Although what you encounter during any given shift is unknown (so you could be busy the full 12 hours or be waiting around for half the day), I did have a period of about 2 hours that we were waiting at the base, so I wish I had brought more reading material or study notes. Also make sure to bring food and layers if you are doing it during the winter.
How has this experience helped you clinically, in class and/or in career decision making?
It was great to communicate with patients and get a better perspective of the interaction between health care providers and the patient. As a future PA, the opportunity to work in first response is limited but it did give me insight in what it would be like to work in the Emergency room. It made me excited for my upcoming ER placements.
Share your most memorable experience from the LP!
My most memorable experience was when we were on stand-by at a fire, it was really cool to go on the other side of the yellow tape and see how all teams (police, paramedics and firefighters) work together in response to a disaster. Also, I enjoyed hearing all the interesting stories and experiences the paramedics had.
Any other comments?
I would highly recommend that everyone try a ride along at least once! Although it was a long shift it provides a unique experience that allow us to see what happens before the patient arrives at ER.