2014 Poster Competition Winner

For the 2014 UK Student Paramedic Conference after some deliberation I decided to enter the poster competition, little did I know what I was letting myself in for! I’d attended an incident in one of my early clinical placements that I thought would be great for reflection and decided to try and build it into a poster. The theme of last year’s conference was ‘Bridging the gap, between Education and Practice’ and I chose to base my poster on was about clinical decision making, which seemed to fit. 


From my background reading I found that most academics highlight that there are two main types of decision makers. Type 1 decisions makers make decisions based on personal or previous experience, whereas Type 2 decision makers take a more pragmatic approach, gathering all possible information to make an informed decision. As I highlighted in the poster presentation there are obvious pros and cons to both techniques. And in reality the majority of practitioners will base decisions through a mixture of both.


The poster in total took around 30hours to complete (although I’m sure those that are more technically minded would be able to do it a lot quicker!). It tested my academic writing, IT and presentation skills. And although at times being slightly stressful to complete, including attempting to fit around university and placement commitments, proved to be a mainly enjoyable experience. 


From completing the poster it has highlighted a few areas that I would like to examine further, these mainly relate to our decision making processes, and how different types of paramedic education may predispose you to being more tightly associated with one certain method. 


During the conference there was the opportunity to discuss my work with fellow conference goers, the organisers, exhibitors and judges; it was great to get others opinions on my topic and I was amazed by how many other students had had similar experiences during their placements. 

Overall I enjoyed the process of producing the poster, and by developing my understanding of clinical decision making I feel more confident in my own clinical decision making; which in the pressured environment that paramedics work in can only be of benefit.

I’d certainly encourage everyone to enter the competition, it might seem like a lot of extra work on top of your other commitments but it’s certainly worth it – and if you start now it’ll take less than 2hours a week. It will look fantastic in your portfolio, and hopefully open up some great opportunities for you. My poster was published in the January 2015 Volume of the Journal of Paramedic Practice; and I’ve met a few people on the road who’d seen the article and complimented/quizzed me on it since. I certainly didn’t think I’d be published whilst still a student. In addition to the publication the first prize also included the opportunity to undertake an observer shift with the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust. Overall I had a fantastic day on the aircraft, the team were fantastic and I cannot thank them enough. I’m much more informed about the role of HEMS and who knows in a few years maybe I’ll be up in the sky responding to calls myself. 

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