• prehospital emergency;
  • ambulance;
  • paramedics;
  • experiential learning;
  • holistic care;
  • nurse education;
  • quality of care;
  • interprofessional collaboration

The adrenaline rush: nursing students’ experiences with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service

Aim.  The aim of this project was to explore nursing students’ experiences whilst on placement with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

Background.  The literature suggests that experiential learning can enhance understanding, knowledge and skills and has the potential for reducing the theory–practice gap.

Design.  A qualitative approach was utilized, employing diaries and focus group interviews to gather data. One hundred and fifty-four nursing students submitted diaries, producing a response rate of 69%, while 190 students partook in interviews (86%).

Findings.  Content analysis indicated that the students gained a new appreciation of the concept of holistic care, and that increased interprofessional understanding provides the foundation for improved quality of patient care.