Amanda Blaber

Senior Lecturer in Paramedic Practice

Amanda has 17 years’ experience teaching in higher education institutes, with many years of emergency care experience. She contributes to the Forum for Higher Education for Paramedics and the Council of Deans Paramedic Advisory group. She is an Honorary Fellow of the College of Paramedics and is extremely proud of the literary contribution she and her colleagues have made to the education of paramedics in the UK. She has extensive knowledge and experience in curriculum design and validation processes and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. As a lecturer, she finds inspiration and enjoyment from teaching and endeavours to make students’ learning as real and as fun as possible. She has published (alone and with colleagues) four paramedic texts, two of which are bestsellers and have resulted in further editions being written. She is committed to supporting early career writers to have the opportunity to develop their skills and experience in the publishing arena. She has been educated about ‘prescribing’ from her fellow editors during this process and has enjoyed learning much more about this fascinating area of practice.

We spoke to Amanda about the production of her latest book, Independent Prescribing for Paramedics:

C. Why have you written the book?

A. The Independent Prescribing for Paramedics arose from discussions with my prescribing colleague Hannah Morris, as she was receiving enquiries from paramedics to undertake the Prescribing course and she was trying to find specific and appropriate resources that were not nursing orientated. There were none, so we thought we could write something, prior to the new prescribing legislation coming into place, so it was a pretty tight schedule. We realised once we had a contract with yourselves that we really could be helped by Andy Collen and the book would benefit from his paramedic expertise in this area. Hannah did the vast majority of the writing, and my input was (pretty much)from an editing perspective. From this has followed a few other ideas, such as the Independent Prescribing (IP) for District Nurses that we are working on over this Summer and then IP for General Practice Nursing. so an exciting trilogy of texts should be the end result of one spark of an idea.

C. What drives you as a person?

A. I have been teaching predominantly student paramedics for 12 years now and I strive to keep my teaching materials and content as contemporaneous as possible. One way to achieve this is to work with other subject experts to create specific texts (I have previously published best sellers in my subject areas with OU Press). I have involved and encouraged some of my colleagues and ex-students to write chapters of my edited texts, which is very rewarding, satisfying and a (I hope) a legacy for the profession. As an emergency care nurse by background, it has been a pleasure to be involved with the educational development of the paramedic profession for many years now and to now see the profession at a point where there is less and less reliance on other healthcare professionals for their educational expertise and knowledge. The next generation of educationalists are Paramedics. To have played my small part in this historical process is very special to me, as was receiving the Honorary Fellowship from the College of Paramedics- something that will always be a highlight of my educational career.

Personally, being the best I can be is important to me. This ethos drives me in my work life and personal life. Fitness, physically and mentally is vital to my drive and sense of well-being. One of my personal achievements is completing the London Marathon. It was a while ago now, but still remains a magnificent memory, although I am sure I have forgotten the pain of training, strained ankle ligaments 2 weeks before and being told this may jeopardise me completing it. The elation and sense of achievement finishing it in my home city, running past the places I grew up as a child and where many of my family live was extremely special to me. I guess it has helped me through hard times, one of my 'dig deep' sayings (to myself) is, 'I finished a marathon, so I can....' Once was enough, I did it for a personal reason and raised money. However, I still value my physical fitness and regular running (not on marathon training scale), gym work is key to my being. Achieving the right balance of work and family/friend - life is incredibly important to me, 'work to live, not live to work.'

I re-located to the Sussex coast 10 years ago, wanting to re-balance my work/life balance. This saying explains my reasoning: 'Listen to the wind, the sound of sea on shore. Listen quietly to your heart and never want for more.'

C. Is there anything interesting to share surrounding the writing process?

A. I suppose in the last 10 years and many edited books later, I have realised that one of the most important aspects of writing an edited text is to ensure you have reliable contributors. It is very hard to work with some contributors who do what they promise within the set timescale and to work with those who are the opposite. This slows the whole project down and is not fair on the people whose chapters are 'ready to go' and slowly but surely 'going out of date'. The publication process can take several months, sometimes up to 10 (which is something that I did not appreciate until I published for the first time -obviously publishers are all different). The frustrations this can bring to an editor are huge, so I now only work with colleagues who come recommended as being reliable, or people I have worked with previously. It is important, where possible and depending on the subject, to work with colleagues across the UK, and not just have contributors from one part of the UK. The Prescribing texts are slightly different in this respect, from other texts I have edited, as much of the content is factual and is not different across various parts of the UK. Contrary to belief, writing or editing is not going to make you rich, but I have found it quite addictive. I have now edited 8 texts, something I never envisaged and never set out to achieve, but each one is different in terms of challenges and achievements. Writing/editing textbooks is I believe easier than publishing an article, again other may disagree. Articles once submitted for review, are returned usually at the most inopportune or busiest time in your working calendar and I find the momentum for me has been lost. Whereas with a text I can plan it into my working year and keep control of the project.

C. What was your experience like working with Class to produce the book?

A. For IP for Paramedics, from start to finish and it was a turn around of about 4 months from idea to publication, which was a whirlwind and took over all of our lives, us writing it and the amazing team working exceptionally hard to publish it. In fact it was the quickest, most efficient, easiest text I have published to date - thank you to all involved and to all at Class. The team were enthusiastic, supportive and very accommodating to our needs and helped us in any way they could. This enabled us to be focused and productive within the short timescale we had imposed on ourselves.

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