Kim Bourton, a Paramedic at Ponteland Medical Group, has become the first Paramedic to complete Northumbria Healthcare’s Northumbria Advanced Clinical Assessment for Nurses (NACAN) qualification. The course, which is usually completed by hospital-based nursing staff, teaches attendees advanced skills for patient assessment, physical examination and history taking.
We sat down with Kim to find out a bit more about her background, what motivated her to enrol and what she has planned next.
Hi Kim! Could you give us some background on how you arrived at NPC?
I joined the ambulance service about 15 years ago. The first three years of that were spent as an Emergency Care Support worker helping qualified paramedics on an ambulance. I then began training as a paramedic through Northumbria Healthcare in 2010 and fully qualified in 2012. After ten years on the ambulance, I decided to join Northumbria Primary Care at Ponteland Medical Group in the summer of 2022 and have never looked back!
What made you make the move to primary care?
It was something that I’d considered for a while. I’d got to a point in my career where I felt I was at a bit of an impasse and needed a new challenge. I loved my time working on ambulances, but I found myself wanting something a bit different to the typical route that paramedics often take. I’ve always been interested in personal and professional development and after doing some research, I realised that primary care would be a great way to grow my skills and knowledge base. Working in a GP practice also provides me with a bit more structure and consistency to my week than the shift patterns of a paramedic on an ambulance.
As you’ve been with us for nearly a year, how have you found your time in primary care so far?
It’s been fantastic. I joined NPC because I wanted to challenge myself and experience something a bit different and I’ve had that in spades! When most people decide they want to become a paramedic, they don’t tend to think about general practice. I think that attitude is starting to change and paramedics are becoming more common place in primary care.
When you work on the ambulances you’re responding to emergencies, stabilising patients and then handing them over to other clinicians; you don’t get to work with the patient on their journey. In general practice you get to know people and take that journey alongside them. You’re very much a part of a community. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience.
What was it about the NACAN course that caught your attention?
I’m always looking for ways to develop my skills and to continue learning. NACAN offered a unique opportunity to broaden my understanding beyond that of a typical paramedic. As I work alongside nurses on a daily basis, by improving my understanding of their role, I’m able to do my job better. This course also allows me to progress towards my goal of becoming a non-medical prescriber which will allow me to directly prescribe to patients. By doing this I’ll be able to reduce pressure on our GPs and streamline the prescribing process further.
What was the course like?
It was brilliant! It completely took me out of my comfort zone and gave me a better understanding of different health care roles and how they provide continuity of care to patients. I met a wide range of clinicians from very different backgrounds and we were able to share knowledge and experience. The course gave me the opportunity to learn valuable skills I otherwise wouldn’t, including interpreting chest x-rays and basic bloods interpretation.
How did it feel to become the first Paramedic to attend the NACAN course?
I feel very privileged to have gotten a place. It’s a very busy course that is in high demand and has long waiting lists. I’m so impressed with NPC and how they’ve facilitated and supported my career development; it’s more than I ever expected.
What’s next for you?
Looking to the future, I’m currently aiming to be on the September intake of the Non-Medical Prescribing course. This will allow me to extend continuity of care further and provide more for patients. It also reduces pressure elsewhere in the practice and streamlines the process of prescribing meaning it’s one less thing for GPs to do.
Northumbria Primary Care prides ourselves on supporting our staff to continue to develop their skills and knowledge. Want to find out why NPC could be the right fit for you? Head over to the ‘Working For Us’ page to find out more.
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