07 June 2024  |  Sven Wardle  |  Posted in: , , ,

We were recently contacted by Jess Kelly, Richmond School and Sixth Form student from 2014 – 2021. 

She updated us with news of her Paramedic Science course at Sunderland University – she’s coming to the end of her second year – and told us of an exciting project she’s taking part in as part of her third year studies. Jess will travel to Tanzania with a small group of fellow students and spend a month working in a variety of departments of the capital, Dar es Salaam’s hospital. She said this would provide her with an incredibly valuable experience, working in a completely different part of the world in a contrasting and much more poorly funded health service than the UK.

Jess told us that she was undertaking a variety of fundraising initiatives to raise money for her trip and asked whether we could raise awareness of what she was doing. In return, she offered to come in to talk to students about her experiences in school and college and on her Paramedic Science course.

We jumped at the chance to take Jess up on her offer and hopefully she will be coming into school soon. In the meantime, we asked Jess for a little bit more information about her time at Richmond School and Sixth Form College and her journey to where she is now.

Jess’ account follows:

I completed both my GCSEs and A-Levels at Richmond School and was pleased with my results. I decided to do A-Levels in Maths, Sport, and Biology as I knew they could help me when going to University to study Paramedic Science. However, I did find the jump from GCSEs to A-levels quite challenging, especially due to the fact most of my studies were online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

After studying A-levels I had a year out of education focusing on working and deciding what I wanted to do as a career. During my year out of education, I kept in contact with Mrs Johnson who helped me apply for Paramedic Science at the University of Sunderland. I started my degree in September 2022 and I’m currently at the end of my second year. I have had the opportunity to experience lots of amazing placements, from working on the ambulance to working on several cardiology wards across the north east. I love my job and have experienced things I never would have had the opportunity to do otherwise. Working on the ambulance is one of the most rewarding things I have done and makes me realise that being a Paramedic is something I want to do for the rest of my career. My studies have allowed me to make lifelong friends who I hope to work alongside when I qualify. 

I currently work for a private ambulance service outside of university called CIPHER which provides me with lots of opportunities to further my skills and knowledge and allows me to work in a team where everyone is welcoming and supportive. CIPHER has allowed me to work on patient transport and work events from half marathons to football matches and many more. 

I highly recommend joining a sports team during your time at university especially if you have a demanding course as it allows for some downtime and is a massive stress reliever. Sports at university also allow for lots of different social events and creates lifelong friends from all different courses.

Within my final year of university I have been given the opportunity to travel to Tanzania and work in the hospitals on different wards and most importantly see how their ambulance service works. The trip is fully self funded so I will be doing lots of different fundraising in the meantime. I graduate in summer 2025 and plan to start my career straight away – hopefully working in the north east. I will start as a newly qualified paramedic (NQP) and complete a portfolio for the first two years of my career. After completion I plan to go back to university while still working to complete a Masters in Critical Care. In the future, I would love to work on the road as a Critical Care Paramedic going to some of the most serious incidents.

My advice for current students would be: “Don’t be scared to go for what you want and apply yourself to every opportunity given.” I am so glad I applied to the University of Sunderland and started my career as a paramedic – it has given me so many opportunities and helped me to become a much more confident person.

Thanks to Jess for giving us an insight into the life of a Paramedic Science student – we definitely look forward to hearing from her in person when she visits.

Jess would very much appreciate any donations to help her on her way to Tanzania next year. Her gofundme page can be found at this link:

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