Learning from Incidents event at the University of Suffolk

Date: 15 May 2018

Teacher at the front of a classroom of student paramedics

A university has teamed up with the region’s ambulance service to host a learning event to improve outcomes for patients.

The University of Suffolk and East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) have hosted the first Learning from Incidents event for future paramedics and those working in the profession already.

Rob Riches, Patient Safety Officer for EEAST and a Critical Care Paramedic, explained: “The Learning from Incidents event was a fantastic day for all involved. It is about creating a forum where people can come and openly discuss cases, learn from it and introduce that learning into their clinical practice.

“We are grateful to the University of Suffolk for hosting the first of what we hope will be quarterly events, benefitting the student paramedics at the University too. The aim is to disseminate learning from a range of incidents in a format that is digestible to our frontline.”

The Trust regularly reviews cases in a variety of ways and has a robust serious incident procedure from which learning is always taken.

Paramedic students from the University’s BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science degree joined experienced ambulance professionals for the event. 

Lee Cunnell, Director of Emergency and Urgent Care and Course Leader for BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science, said: "It was so exciting and encouraging to see student paramedics and experienced practice staff discussing real cases and learning from the difficult nature of our profession. We are particularly proud that the presenters acknowledged the high level of clinical knowledge and understanding demonstrated from our students, some of who are in their first year. This event allowed honest and open discussions and allows students to apply and develop further reflective theories. We have a fantastic partnership with EEAST and events such as these serve to strengthen that relationship further."

Second year BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science student George Noble attended the Learning from Incidents event and said: "It was informative to attend this additional contemporary style lecture, led by EEAST. The experience presented by practising clinicians reviewing real-life cases, provided supplementary, varied and invaluable knowledge for students. The style of these events will improve the standard of care for the service user in the future."

Rob Riches added: “Part of this is to take learning from the specific cases that we are discussing but the other part is about continuing to develop and promote a culture of openness, transparency, reflection and sharing with peers.

“To hear from someone who has been through a difficult case, a good case or an unusual case is a powerful method to learn. Clinicians often find that hearing someone else’s experience will directly inform their practice going forward and the overall objective is for that new information is used to benefit patients and to make them safer.”

The degree at the University of Suffolk started in 2016 responding to a recruitment need to increase the number of paramedics. It was designed in partnership with Health Education East of England and the EEAST.

Students spend 50 per cent of the course working alongside paramedic educators on practice placements across the region and they spend time with mentors in specialist practice at sites including West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust.

  • Summary:

    A university has teamed up with the region’s ambulance service to host a learning event to improve outcomes for patients.