Maintaining an exciting social life is important to many students while at university. RGU has a wide range of clubs and societies that you can join to make the best of your time here. The Paramedic Society was only established last year but is becoming increasingly popular. Dawn Hearsum is a second-year BSc Paramedic Practice student and President of the society. She tells us more about the society’s short history and what it offers to students.
Can you tell us more about how the Paramedic Society was born?
It was just myself and my friend Charlotte, the Vice-President, who decided to set it up. We saw that other courses at RGU had their own society and we thought we could have something similar. Some lecturers also had mentioned it before, but nobody had ever taken the initiative to actually do it. So, we just said “why not?”. We gathered a group of people interested in becoming committee members and we worked together to get the society started.
I think we’ve done really well for our first year. The society has 101 members at the moment. About 70% of people from the BSc Paramedic Practice course are members, which I think is one of the best ratios within the academic societies.
What is the main focus of the society?
Our main objective is to have a balance between the social and academic side. If you look at our Instagram, you can see we organise a lot of social events. As we started our course during Covid, we didn’t really know anyone in our class. We went the whole of first year only seeing each other twice at university. That’s why one of the main goals for this year was to get people actually meeting up outside university and get to know each other.
But we have academic talks as well. We’re doing things that are related to the course but aren’t necessarily getting covered in class to build on our knowledge for going out into practice. However, the society is not exclusive to Paramedic students. Everyone is welcome! We have a few people that aren’t on the course and it’s good to have them come along as well.
Can you tell us more about the events that you organise?
In terms of academic events, one of the first events we organised was a “Take Home Naloxone” training. All ambulances now carry a take home naloxone kit with them which can be the difference between life and death for someone who has overdosed. A lot of people might have seen this advertised on social media and TV adverts. That’s why we had Mary Munro from the Scottish Ambulance Service come in to give us a training on the topic.
Coming up soon we have a talk from the police about their role and how paramedics work together with them. We’ve also had interest from the ambulance service wanting to contribute to an event. There is also something in the works with the fire brigade for car accidents training. It would be beneficial for us to learn about how they work to get people out of cars and the different roles they carry out in these situations. Overall, we’re starting to build a strong relationship between us and professionals in the field.
Beside these trainings, we also organise a lot of social events. We’ve had therapy dogs recently during second year exams, which was really popular. Being around pets produces a calming effect in your brain, alleviating pain, reducing stress and improving your overall psychological state. It’s a really beneficial activity to do around exams to help students cope with academic stress.
Our first social event though was just drinks at the pub to get to know everyone. I think that was our biggest turnout with around 50 to 60 people.
We also had a pub quiz where we raised money for Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance. We raised over £400 for them! It was nice to be supported really well for our first fundraising event. We organised a raffle and lots of local businesses participated.
This year, we also had a “Feel good February”, where we tried to stay away from social events involving alcohol. After sending out a questionnaire at the start of the year, we saw that members wanted to see more alcohol-free activities. We then decided that we would do a walk every Wednesday where people could come along and chat. At the end of month, we also had a pizza and game night in the new RGU:Union space.
What are your ambitions for the future of the society?
Over the next year, we want to have more of the academic talks. Obviously the social events are really good, but we want build more professional relationships with people. We’ve set a good foundation so far, but I think we need to be a bit more forward in asking people to come do talks for us.
We also want to keep growing members as well and get the new first years involved. It would also be good to get new students involved in the committee side of things as well because, after next year, the whole committee will be graduating. That’s why we want to encourage more people to take on some leadership roles.
What do you love the most about being part of the Paramedic Society and what is your favourite memory?
I love that everyone seems to be happy with everything we’re doing. There’s not been an event that people had anything bad to say about. They’ve all agreed that they’ve been both beneficial and enjoyable.
It’s nice to see people getting the benefits from what we’re doing. Had we not had all the social events, people wouldn’t have been as friendly with each other. Especially for first years because they don’t really know anyone when they start university. That’s why it’s really nice that we’ve managed to bring people together.
My favourite memory is more of a personal achievement. I organised paramedics to come in before the 2nd year exams to do scenarios with us to practice what we had learned. I was really happy with how it all went! It was my first time organising something fully by myself. After the event, people were coming up to me and thanked me for organising it. It felt really nice to have helped people.
What would you say to prospective or current students to encourage them to join the Paramedic Society?
Our society is a really good one to join, especially if you’re on the BSc Paramedic Practice course, because you’ll get to know students from different years. It can be hard sometimes to mix everyone together but I think we manage to do that quite well. The society is a great opportunity to build friendships with those people that you will be working with in a few years once we’re all out of university.
We can also learn a lot from each other. Even when we’re sitting down at the pub, first years come to us asking for advice about the course and we’re able to talk about it in a casual setting. There is no stress asking for help. It’s different coming to us than coming to lecturers in the middle of a class.