HomeStudent Observers: Their Thoughts
12 April 2023

Student Observers: Their Thoughts


At Essex & Herts Air Ambulance, we run an international student elective programme that started around 2013. Paramedic and medical students can apply to spend four to six weeks observing with our Critical Care Team. As well as observing on flying shifts, they attend our governance meetings, produce audits and project work, assist on the school CPR programme and, when the opportunity arises, assist with fundraising events too.

We wanted to share with you the feedback from one of our recent students Matthew Walton, whose feedback reflects the experience of many of our students and is testament to the effort from everyone at the Charity who has contact with the students during their time with us.


Thank you for saving my… medical career!

I want to thank all of the incredible people at EHAAT for inspiring me. My experiences with EHAAT will stay with me forever. Here’s a few memorable quotes that I’ll take away:

“Cup of tea?” I’ve seen EHAAT Doctors and Paramedics, Pilots and Engineers all coming in to work with an infectious smile on their face (not IPC compliant). It reassured me that during a time of low morale in the NHS, there is a future for me in medicine where I see myself being incredibly passionate and happy.

“Tell me about what you do?” It’s surprisingly rare as a medical student that a senior staff member takes a genuine interest in you as a person – your life, your hobbies, your dreams. This is at the heart of EHAAT’s powerful impression it leaves on us students. Despite their extraordinary jobs, the EHAAT staff are some of the nicest and most humble people I’ve ever met. Never stop!

“You can’t prepare for those first few shifts”. I agree. This was in the context of the psychological resilience project. Though it also is true in the context of just having the most awe-inspiring time. What a rush and an excitement that it is to have the first job and start flying in a helicopter for the first time – as most of us students will do. Top that with saving lives. It is absolutely amazing and you can’t prepare for that experience. What a privilege you offer us.

“Have you ever seen this before?” When I face similar cases as a clinician in future, the familiarity that I have gained with them and the learning points I have taken away will equip me to treat these patients better.

“You only get one chance at this life, don’t waste it”. This was some of the advice I received in my final year placement from an EHAAT Doctor concerning my ‘FO’ year. It became one of the defining attitudes that gave me confidence to take a leap of faith out of medicine, one from which I’ve not looked back. I’ll continue to take that attitude with me into my future.

“I want to follow your career, I think you’ll have an interesting one”. I don’t know if this was true at the time that an EHAAT Doctor said that to me, but their belief in me has spurred me on to prove them right. I hope I don’t disappoint, and in the words of Arnold: “I’ll be back”.

Best wishes to all the amazing people at EHAAT,

From Matthew

We are incredibly proud to say that our elective programme is building a worldwide reputation with students coming from across Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The prestigious Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh) Faculty of Prehospital Care are also interested in working with us and we are building a proposal currently, anticipating that we will receive some of their students in 2019.

Thank all those that have contact with our students for continuing to make their experience with EHAAT so fulfilling.


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