Paramedic advances patient care, career with LHSC placement

Paramedic Eric Hocking stands in front of the entrance to the Emergency Department at University Hospital

April, 5 2024

In paramedicine, no two days are the same, and you must be prepared for anything. After four years as a paramedic in Guelph, Eric Hocking had experienced a great deal, but he wanted to expand his knowledge even further.  

That desire led him to enroll in Fanshawe College’s Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP) program last year. The course included educational placements in different areas at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), including its Emergency Departments, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Labour and Delivery.  

Hocking’s experience served as a solid foundation for his time at LHSC.  

“It was beneficial to put those skills into practice during my placements,” said Hocking, adding he was also able to make use of material he learned from his classes at Fanshawe to dive deeper into the science behind the care paramedics provide. 

“Whether it's medications or things happening within the body, it was really nice to take everything I’ve learned and apply it to real-world settings as part of a care team.” 

Hocking said he found the time working with staff and physicians at LHSC valuable as it provided insight into the types of cases they handle each day and showed how patients’ medical journeys can evolve. 

“I was able to see what happens after patients are admitted to hospital and learn more about the care they receive while they’re there,” said Hocking.  

Hocking’s time with LHSC also helped prepare him for delicate scenarios a paramedic may only encounter once in their career, including treating a 24-week-old baby.  

“If you've never seen a baby that small, it can be quite nerve wracking,” said Hocking.  

Even though he’d helped deliver two infants in the field before joining the ACP program, Hocking said obstetrics made him a little nervous, but LHSC’s Labour and Delivery team helped him feel more comfortable. 

“Being lucky enough to have those experiences in a setting where you have people guiding you through the care process is going to be something that I can take with me moving forward.” 

Sam Marsh, a registered nurse (RN) and occasional In Charge Person (ICP) in the Obstetrical Care Unit, was one of Hocking’s preceptors and speaks highly of his dedication. 

Eric came prepared to learn and actively sought out opportunities to hone his skills,” said Marsh. “He watched a caesarian section, attended vaginal deliveries and followed NICU team members as they completed a preterm resuscitation.” 


Marsh added that it’s especially important for learners to see how care teams respond to those preterm deliveries. “If ACP students have the opportunity to learn neonatal resuscitation from our amazingly skilled NICU colleagues, then those preterm infants may have better outcomes when they’re born outside the hospital.”  


Working with learners is a win-win situation that allows staff to pass on their passion and skills to the next generation of health care workers. 


Hocking notes that each of the care teams he worked with offered him insight and advice,  


“From the Emergency Department to Labour and Delivery to the respiratory therapists and all the amazing nurses, everyone had knowledge to share,” said Hocking. “To be able to draw on the experience of those staff and physicians in my own practice is going to be something that's super valuable.” 


Hocking believes it would have been difficult to get the same learning experience elsewhere because of the exposure students have to LHSC’s specialized departments, pointing to Victoria Hospital’s Critical Care Trauma Centre (CCTC) as another example. 

“You have patients being flown in straight to the trauma room,” he said. “As a learner, you see all the different roles of the team in action.” 

As for what’s next for Hocking, he’s on track to receive his ACP certification in February after completing an additional 400-hour preceptorship and final exam. 

Hocking had words of encouragement for anyone considering the ACP program and a placement at LHSC.  

“Do it. Ask questions, show up and don’t be afraid. You get as much out of the experience as you put in.” 

More information about educational opportunities at LHSC is available through the Learner Affairs webpage.