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A recently published study in the Emergency Medicine Journal reporting on the Initial Experience Setting up a Medical Student First Responder Scheme for life threatening emergencies in the community, a partnership developed and managed by the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) and Oxford University Medical School, confirms the schemes success.  The scheme, launched in 2013, recruits volunteers from fourth and fifth year medical students to provide early and often vital intervention for patients suffering life-threatening medical emergencies whilst an ambulance response is en route to the scene.

The study’s key findings include:

  • Confirmation of the feasibility of setting up a successful student first responder scheme developed and managed by the ambulance service in partnership with the medical school
  • Appropriate case selection, and good ambulance operational integration and support, has produced a really valuable training opportunity for medical students to initially assess unwell patients in the community in preparation for undertaking a similar role in hospital
  • A valuable opportunity to gain insight into the challenges of delivering care in the ambulance pre-hospital environment and an understanding of the role of the emergency services
  • A number of patients have benefited from timely access to basic life support and defibrillation following out of hospital cardiac arrest
  • Student feedback has confirmed that this experience was highly valued for not only for enhancing communication and clinical skills, but also for their leadership development

The scheme coordinators hope to extend the scheme to pre-clinical students, who will respond with a more experienced clinical medical student, giving them the opportunity to provide mentorship and support. They also hope to extend the scheme to include other allied healthcare professional students.

Paper: Initial experience in setting up a medical student first responder scheme in South Central England (Subscription may be required)

Related news: Oxford University medical students to be England's first Student Responders