A day in the life of a paramedic student

A day in the life of a paramedic student


My name is Marissa Leso and I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Clinical Practice (Paramedic) at CSU in Port Macquarie. Here’s what a typical day in my life looks like.

7am: My alarm clock notifies me that it’s time to get amongst the day. Getting out of bed and off to University isn’t as hard for me as it is for most students, because I’m a genius and decided to complete my degree living out of my Ford Transit!

CSU paramedic student Marissa lives out of her Ford Transit.

I typically park my portable-home where I want to wake up in the morning, so today I’m in the Coles carpark conveniently located across from my usual coffee joint. My Trauma lecture is at 8am so I have exactly one hour to pump my cappuccino while reading through some journal articles that I’m reviewing for my research assessment. True to form, the assessment is due by midnight, so today is going to be another masterful juggling act.

8am: I’ve made my way to class. Today’s topic is drowning and hypothermia. These topics are a part of my trauma subject and are really interesting because of the pathophysiology behind each condition. We discuss recognition, management and treatment priorities for each patient, while simultaneously comparing to the failing body processes that cause the signs and symptoms that we will find as future paramedics.

11am: The lecture ends and by now my only priority is food. I have a terrible habit of skipping breakfast, so by this point I am potentially the patient if I don’t eat something.

I have a two hour break until my next class so I find a study area where I can make some progress on my research assessment. When you’re studying on campus the trick is to always put your head phones on! Friends are less likely to distract you, plus you can pretend not to hear them when they’re procrastinating and trying to distract you. But if you have friends like mine, they will remove the headphones from your head and start a conversation regardless of any objections. Thank you very much Kasey, Siobhan and Courtney, I may possibly fail this degree because of you!

CSU student Marissa struggles to study with her friends distracting her.

1pm: Two hours flies by and so it’s time for my Advanced Cardiology tutorial. This is an interactive two hour class so you have to be ready to participate. Today our lecturer presents a number of different scenarios with an aim for us to think of all the possible causes based on limited patient information, then narrow it down to just one with inclusion of electrocardiogram (ECG) presentations.

Today we’re introduced to a new concept of axis deviation, and frankly by the end of class I’m happy with just knowing how to spell it! A promise to all my future patients though… I will make sure I understand axis deviation by the time I graduate.

3pm: My final class for the day is another two-hour Advanced Cardiology lesson, however this time it’s a practical class. We’re spoilt here at CSU in Port Macquarie. We get to work with latest equipment you’d see in Australian ambulances, practice scenarios in environments that mimic real world settings, and have the latest technology to help simulate these classes.

My patient today is an 88 year old female stating she feels “unwell”. Very helpful! You’ll be pleased to know that after a thorough assessment, we discovered the underlying cause of her discomfort and treated her appropriately.

6pm: My day’s still not over. I have two hours of soccer training, dinner to eat, and then a research assessment to finish and submit. Despite all the stress of being busy, today I learnt something new, saved my patient’s life, and managed to squeeze in some laughs with my friends. All in all, just another day in the life of a paramedic student.

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