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Ken Bordt

BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science

The course for me

"The course is a mix of practical and academic stuff and it's split down the middle. A typical week for us is three days of lectures and two self-directed study days. 

"The topics we do range from things like anatomy, physiology and different medicines to more theoretical aspects of the ambulance service as well, so we look at the history of the ambulance service and the various factors that are determining its growth and how it’s changing. 

"It’s quite a varied structure and for about half of the rest of the course we do placements with Yorkshire Ambulance Service. 

"I was attracted by the varied scope of the job. I wanted to do something within the medical field but I wanted to do something that was challenging and I think paramedics work very atypical days and every single day can be completely different.

"Paramedic Science in general is quite a new thing. The programme at Bradford is only in its fourth consecutive year and there’s a lot of change within the industry. It’s becoming more evidence based and it’s becoming more reliant on having these skills that we’re learning in university as part of the whole profession.

"My experience on the course has been extremely positive. I think we’ve got a really good team of academic staff who are very passionate about what they do. We’ve got massive support through Yorkshire Ambulance Service who partner the course, so there’s a lot of real hands-on training that’s as relevant to us as students as it is to the professionals out in the field at the moment, so you really feel like you’re getting the best possible training."

"When I first looked into becoming a paramedic, I had quite a narrow view of what our scope of practice would be. The more you learn about it and the more you’re exposed to it, you realise there's actually quite a lot of differing roles. There’s roles in research, management and education that are cropping up and being developed so the role as it stands now will be very different in 10 years' time and that’s exciting.

A different journey

"I took, off the top of my head, I think it was an 18-year gap year. I've been planning on coming back into formal education for quite a while and it was just a case of finding the right time and the right course to do.

"Before enrolling, I looked into the courses that were offered within healthcare and specifically within paramedic science and did a bit of research into Bradford as well. I came to some open days and had a look around and spoke to people about it and the way the course is set up at Bradford compared to other universities, with the sandwich year in third year, was just immensely appealing.

"To be able to get out there and spend an entire year getting that practical experience within the scope of the course was a big draw for me.

"Some things I did in my time off were similar to paramedic science and then the rest of it I guess you just put down to life experience. I think my time as a scuba diving instructor brought me the most into contact with this kind of world, just because as part of the course requirements we used to do a lot of first aid and first response training and that kind of peaked my interest."

Adjusting

"Starting university has been a massive change, definitely. I think my previous lifestyle was very happy go lucky and carefree and this is obviously a lot more structured with more demands and time pressure.

"When I initially started doing my research, I found at Bradford in particular there was a lot of support for mature students. The whole recruitment team and the outreach programmes were very positive, especially towards people wanting to come back into education after such a time out and that was a big draw towards Bradford.

"I did the Step Up to HE programme just prior to term starting which was a massive help. It was a good day to come in and talk to some professors and meet some other mature students. The level of support is tremendous and there’s always more out there if you reach out for it so that’s been a massive help in settling back into full-time education and to a more structured life.

"I can say for certain that when I was 18 and I left high school I was probably not ready for university and it would not have been the right step for me, so that was a good decision back then. Since then, I’ve done quite a few different jobs and lived and worked in different places across the world and I think that gives you a different perspective on things and it does help you when you come back into education."

I joined rugby league to try a different sport, so that’s been interesting. I’ve not been able to play and practice as much as I want too, but I think the societies here are quite good at welcoming people who are essentially part-timers so when I do have the time to turn up at training or a match, I'm quickly welcomed back in to the fold.

Support for me

"I think the support available at Bradford is quite a remarkable feature. I obviously did the thing where you apply to several universities and cross your fingers but throughout the entire journey, from my very first open day, there’s always been contact with Bradford. There’s always been someone reaching out just making sure you’re okay and it’s a very good feeling knowing that you’ve got that support behind you.

"When I was looking around, there was a really nice vibe about the University. Everyone I spoke too was extremely friendly and extremely helpful and this was all the way from academic staff to admin staff. I spoke to some student ambassadors who were scattered about at Open Days on their take on life at Bradford and their experiences. Everything was very positive and genuine and that just made me think to myself that this is definitely a place to seriously consider in terms of pursuing an education.

"I thought it’d be a bit weird initially because I’ve left quite a gap. It’s not your traditional year or two. I don’t know whether it’s a particular thing to Bradford but everyone just has this really good mindset of lets just crack on with it and even within the course, there are a few mature students as well."

Placement opportunities

"At the end of second year we get sent on a blue light training course, which is a four-week course through Yorkshire Ambulance Service. We learn how to drive the ambulance and all the lights, bells and whistles, which is what everyone’s looking forward to!

"Then, you essentially get a job at the level of technician. For a couple of months you're a 'tech 1' and supported to get you into the flow and to get you working and making clinical decisions yourself.

"Then there’s a big review around three months into it and if you feel like you’re ready to make the step up, you step up to the level of 'tech 2' and spend the rest of your nine months working full-time at that level.

"It’s a great opportunity to get actual clinical experience making real-life decisions and it just supports all the theory that you’ve been building up on to that point."

Paramedic Science training at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service base

This is where

...I started a new chapter

When I left high school, university wasn’t the right thing for me. I was fortunate enough to recognise that and not go to university but I think if someone was to ask me now what my advice would be, that would be it really.

This is a door that never closes. If you’re a very young individual who’s debating whether or not to do this and you genuinely feel you’re not in that position yet but you’re scared about maybe leaving it too long, I would definitely say there’s almost no such thing.

As long as you are taking that gap year out for the right reasons, go ahead and do that and then do your research when you come back and are ready and find somewhere like this that’s supportive of bringing people back into the fold and supporting that journey back in.

I’d say the same thing to mature students out there who are thinking to themselves ‘maybe I’ve left it a bit late’. I’m 38 years old and I’m doing my first degree at this age and I don’t feel like I’ve necessarily missed out by leaving it this late. It's simply another chapter in your life.

Ten years from now, I don’t know what I'll be doing, but that doesn’t stop you from doing what you can in the moment and at this moment, this is definitely the right place for me to be and this is the right thing for me to be doing.

Ken Bordt, BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science