The South West Ambulance Service Trust conference in March was held at the University of the West of England; I volunteered for an afternoon stint on the ADSHG stand. I joined five other volunteers, Chani, Sue, Shelley, Danny and Pauline; between us we were rostered to cover the whole day. The stand looked professional and attracted interest at each of the breaks, so we were busy in spurts after each session and over lunch.
I was surprised at how large the conference was; roughly 300 delegates altogether. The lunch provision was good and the cheesecake was clearly well received by two ADSHG volunteers. The coffee was also good - I just had to wait until 3pm for a cup!
The presentations were wide-ranging and covered three streams, A-level students interested in a paramedic course at university, university students and experienced paramedics. One session used an undiagnosed Addison's patient as a case-study. This triggered some interesting questions.
A demonstration on the level of commitment from the attendees was the pair of students from Norwich I spoke to; they set off at 5am, got stuck in traffic and arrived at 1pm, had lunch and then went straight in to one of the lectures.
We had a chat with what looked like a fairly senior paramedic with a crown on the shoulder tabs –in the Army that's a Major. Post-conference I found this is the level of an Area Clinical Lead. He was interested in the time a typical adrenal patient would be okay without an injection. We explained that it's not simple and that normally there is no clear event that you can base your assessment on.
Overall it was well worth doing a stint on the stand and really good to see so many people who are keen on learning how to help others.
I really enjoyed participating in the event, it was nice to meet the paramedics and paramedic students and talk to them about Addison's. I found everyone to be very receptive and keen to learn. It was also an opportunity for us to talk about the updated paramedic guidelines issued by JRCALC in 2017.
This was my first opportunity to meet other people who have Addison’s so it was also really nice to talk to others on the ADSHG stand and see how other people get on with their lives after diagnosis.
Pauline, who helped to set up the ADSHG's display stand at the
South West Ambulance Services Trust student paramedic conference in Bristol in March
This article was first published in the June 2018 edition of the ADSHG newsletter.