Under pressure: A day in the life of the emergency services

Published: April 8, 2019

Health and social care students experienced a day in the life of the emergency services when Telford College laid on a series of special interactive events and activities.

‘Health Professionals Day’ gave learners the chance to step into the shoes of emergency responders, to handle fictitious reports of a major disaster incident.

They also got to hear from a senior paramedic lecturer, and a former student who returned to campus to share her adult nursing experience.

The emergency services exercise was designed to promote a new degree-level course, BSc (Hons) Emergency and Disaster Management, launching in September.

It teaches the principles of emergency planning and policy - ideal for students aspiring to work as emergency responders, or within the business continuity field.

Heather Gumsley, a lecturer at Wolverhampton University, presented students with a fictitious emergency scenario, with reports of an explosion received in Telford.

Students were separated into groups and assigned ‘emergency responder’ status – as police officers, local authority members, fire officers or ambulance services staff – and provided with snippets of information to piece together.

The exercise was designed to demonstrate the importance of multi-agency co-operation. Heather explained: “It’s really important that students learn to communicate with different groups in order to resolve the problem.”

Emergency planning – students work out how to deal with the fictitious explosion

Katie Philips

Student Katie Philips, studying an Access to Higher Education health level three course, said: “The presentation gave me a real insight into the course and what happens in these situations – I’m really interested to find out more.”

The emergency planning theme continued with a visit from Wolverhampton University’s senior paramedic lecturer, Alex Westaway, who gave an insight into the day-to-day life of a paramedic.


He detailed incidents he has attended, his route into the industry, and how students can follow in his footsteps, taking them through the process of writing their personal statement and applying to university, and describing the pathways to explore.

“It’s really exciting to hopefully encourage young people into such a life-changing profession,” Alex said.

Former Telford College student Chloe Dodd also returned to the campus to share her adult nursing experiences with the latest generation of health and social care learners.

Senior paramedic lecturer Alex Westaway

Chloe Dodd with her sister Verity, who is following in her footsteps

Now in her second year studying nursing at Staffordshire University, her career journey began with a level three health and social care qualification at Telford College in 2017.

She said: “I loved college – I really enjoyed it and it set me up well for university, especially learning how to reference, which is an important part of my university assignments.”

Chloe explained the process of university application, encouraging students to think carefully about their choices, and really focus on writing their personal statement.

“I drafted my statement 14 times before I got it just right,” she said. “Luckily, my tutors at Telford College were all really supportive.”

In a Q&A-style forum, Chloe talked students through ways of managing stress, highlighting the importance of good time management in preparation for exams and assignments. She also spoke about her work placements in the nursing world.

“My placements have been really varied and very exciting,” she said. “I’ve worked at a variety of different places, from Shrewsbury Hospital’s gastro ward to the Severn Hospice.”

Chloe’s main piece of advice to students was: “Get involved in as many things as you can, especially when you’re on placement, and don’t forget to be brave and ask questions.”

Her sister, Verity Dodd, is now studying for her level three qualification, as she seeks to follow in her older sister’s footsteps. “My goal is to become a midwife,” she said.

Chloe’s previous personal tutor, Andrew Shouli, said: “Chloe was an exemplary student here and a credit to Telford College – she sets a fantastic example to our current students.”

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