Developing transcultural awareness: student perspectives of a placement in Johannesburg South Africa

Elective placements are a relatively new aspect of paramedic practice, with few opportunities for student paramedics to experience this internationally. This article shares reflections from a student's perspective gained from experience of a 3-week elective placement in Johannesburg, South Africa, working on a frontline ambulance and fast response vehicle. It explores international differences in paramedic practice, reviews two case studies and discusses the importance of scene management and how diagnostic overshadowing can influence care. Furthermore, the different scope of practice and approach to health care in South Africa as compared with the UK where the author is based is investigated, depicting how cultural differences can affect not only the treatment available, but also the impact on patient morbidity and mortality. A transcultural awareness of prehospital practice is beneficial for gaining new perspectives on the management of unique patients and varied situations in the prehospital setting, allowing for the ongoing development of future paramedic practice.

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