University’s first paramedic recruits ready for action

Sunderland University Paramedics.
Sunderland University Paramedics.
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The first group of students on a new paramedic course in Sunderland have started the next step in their careers.

In a bid to help address the national paramedic shortage and to invest in its staff, North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) has worked with the University of Sunderland to develop a new bespoke specialist training programme.

Designed to reduce the gap between theory and practice

Victoria Duffy

The two year Diploma of Higher Education in Paramedic Practice has been accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and is tailored to meet local needs.

With a maximum of three cohorts of up to 20 students per year, the first 19 started their course this month.

Students are employed by NEAS, allowing them to combine theoretical learning with operational shifts.

They will also undertake clinical placements across a range of healthcare environments to help them gain a wider understanding of healthcare in the region.

Caroline Thurlbeck, Director of Strategy, Transformation and Workforce at NEAS, said: “Training to become a paramedic is intense and challenging but is also one of the most rewarding opportunities available.

“We always knew this new course with the University of Sunderland would be popular, but have been overwhelmed by the interest shown so far.”

“We hope this course will continue to grow and look forward to welcoming our home-grown paramedics into NEAS.”

Victoria Duffy, the programme leader at the university, said: “We’re really pleased to be delivering this new Paramedic Diploma alongside the NEAS training and education team.

“The new programme has been developed in response to the changing and dynamic role of the paramedic, together with proposals for development of an all graduate profession.

“The diploma will educate and develop students into effective practitioners able to care for patients in a range of challenging and unpredictable situations.

“It’s designed to reduce the gap between theory and practice, ensuring students develop the skills required for clinical practice. These enhanced clinical skills will allow them to work with a range of medicines, offering more treatments in communities alongside GPs and other health professionals.”