Plymouth University and the Devon Air Ambulance Trust (DAAT) have welcomed the first students to a new programme thought to be the first of its kind in the world.
The institution and the charity have collaboratively put together a masters (MSc) in pre-hospital critical care / transport and retrieval, which enables paramedics to train specifically for the demands of being an air ambulance paramedic.
The idea was the brainchild of DAAT, who approached Plymouth University academics in January last year, and have worked alongside the experts to build the programme – the University’s first postgraduate paramedic qualification.
Over a three-year period studying for ten hours a week, 20 paramedics will gain this new qualification and will be encouraged to contribute to advancing the body of knowledge underpinning pre-hospital critical care through continued research and further study.
Amanda Denton, Postgraduate Programme Lead at the University’s School of Health Professions, said:
“The idea for this degree was only formulated in January last year and it is a testament to the commitment of everyone involved in the collaboration that the programme is up and running within a year. We have created a platform for personal, academic and practical advancement in this highly specialised area and it has already caught the attention of the wider profession, with paramedics from several other air ambulance services joining the programme.
“We are in no doubt that we have developed a model of paramedic education that will lead the way in clinical development for air ambulance services and create a nationally recognised centre of excellence in pre-hospital critical care. I must congratulate DAAT for the vision in identifying the need for this degree and the courage to fund it. It will help future proof the clinical work of air ambulance services everywhere.”
Devon Air Ambulance’s Clinical Support Officer and Paramedic, Darren Goodwin said:
“The world of pre-hospital emergency medicine is moving very quickly with numerous clinical papers published each month, suggesting new and innovative procedures and practices. The aim of this programme is to equip already highly experienced paramedics with the knowledge to appraise, and where necessary challenge, current thinking and bring their own experience to bear in advancing clinical practice.
"There are existing ‘off-the-shelf’ programmes but we wanted to design a programme that addressed the specific needs identified by DAAT and one that addresses the application of theory in practice while benefiting from the very real experiences of paramedics in action. This programme will not only help practitioners with their decision-making and enhance the quality of critical care, it will help Devon Air Ambulance paramedics to become genuine leaders in their field and to make real and positive changes to best practice.”