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Mahdiyah Zaynab Bandali

Paramedic Science - BSc (Hons)

Whether she’s delivering babies on the road or learning how to deal with cardiac arrest patients, no two days are the same for Mahdiyah. After her initial plans to study Medicine didn’t work out, Mahdiyah decided to pursue Paramedic Science and hasn’t looked back. Ever since she has praised the University for the non-stop support she has received and the exciting placements she has completed. Now, she would like to go on to encourage other ethnic minorities to take on these roles in the industry to help these communities feel more represented and safe.   

“Initially, I applied to study Medicine at a different university and was pretty much certain I’d be going there. Regardless, I visited BCU at an Open Day so that I could explore options. It wasn’t easy deciding what to study at uni as the sixth form I attended didn’t really encourage us to apply for vocational courses, such as Paramedic Science or Nursing. It was a struggle not having much support with such an important decision. Attending the Open Days definitely helped to bridge the gap in this support.

After things didn’t work out with my original choice of university, I decided to not wait a year and retake but to pursue Paramedic Science at Birmingham City University. It was the best decision I ever made! I knew that studying Paramedic Science would require a lot of practical work and constant reiteration of new skills, which caused a bit of nervousness. However, having had a sister who went to Birmingham City University, I saw the high level of support and praise she received constantly during her course which motivated her immensely and has allowed her to become a successful architect upon graduating. I had very high aspirations, so seeing how employable my sister had become really cemented my decision to study here.

Paramedic Science has a huge workload, coupled with the pressure of emotionally demanding scenarios and night shifts, so trying to have a stereotypical ‘university life’ becomes difficult. However, seeing a smile when you’ve eased someone’s discomfort, or the rush of adrenaline when you have a successful outcome from a cardiac arrest, makes it all the more worth it. When I meet with friends outside of uni, I can't help my outbursts of ‘I helped deliver a baby today’ or ‘I went to an incident that was on the news today’!

I love the placement aspect of the course! From the first year, you spend around 500 hours in an ambulance and experience the day to day (or night to night!) life of paramedics. The first few weeks are definitely daunting, especially as I came straight from sixth form with no healthcare-related experience, but you quickly come to love it. Having the opportunity to quickly implement something that you’ve learnt is so beneficial and makes the final aim of becoming a paramedic so much more achievable and realistic. One of my favourite facilities at uni is the Skills, Practice and Care Enhancement room (SPACE) and the immersive classroom is perfect to practise skills I've learned on the road.

Alongside my ongoing ambulance placement, I managed to secure a placement on a delivery ward in conjunction with my maternity module. Having already experienced a birth on the road where you have to adapt to the environment, it was astonishing to see the difference between births at the hospital - with all the right equipment and staff on hand - to the births that were unexpected and not in a medical environment. I was able to assist in deliveries and was taught invaluable tips by the midwives (the kind of thing you can only learn on the job) which made me feel so much more confident in approaching my next delivery. Whilst I was there, I was also able to attend a C-section and the ‘Lion King’ moment was nothing short of a miracle!  

In my second year, I received the High Achievers Recognition Scheme (HARS) Scholarship. The HARS scheme massively built on my self-confidence as a student and has made my future goals and dreams more realistic. Through the scheme, I receive face-to-face coaching and mentoring from staff within the HARS team, as well as extra personal and professional development opportunities and funding. Knowing HARS is behind me as I come into my third year has definitely made it less stressful and I couldn't have achieved what I have done so far without them. It’s great that BCU provides an initiative like this.

In the future, I want to take on a leadership role within para-medicine and encourage more people of ethnic minorities to become leaders in their fields and careers. I believe it’s so important that people of different ethnicities take on senior roles, to represent diversity within the general UK workforce, which in turn can help communities feel safe, secure and have trust in what we do. This is very personal to me; being a Muslim in a career where there is not much representation, I have been greeted with so many words of appreciation from families who have felt more comfortable having someone there who understands their faith and culture. I hope to inspire other Muslims, to put themselves out there and improve the general understanding and tolerance of my faith.

A lot of people underestimate Birmingham City University and I have to admit that I was guilty of this too, before I started. However, when I compare the amount of support, motivation and encouragement I receive at BCU, to my friends’ experiences at other universities, the experience is second to none. Whether you're a high-achieving student or a student who needs additional help, BCU ensures tailored support for all individuals. I'm proud to say that I attend this university. 

Birmingham City University encourages me to achieve my goals, empowers me to reach even further and is helping me establish my aims into reality. The thrill of the career, the support of the course team and the fact we’re saving lives from day one means I’ve never once regretted my decision.”

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