The UEA BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science students who graduated in July 2017 were the first paramedics to qualify with Resuscitation Council (RC) Advanced Life Support (ALS) certification, out of more than 27,000 paramedics in the UK.
Believing that paramedics should have the opportunity to complete a nationally recognised RC ALS qualification as part of their training, the School of Health Sciences (HSC) hosted the first course for undergraduate paramedics on 10 June 2017. The opportunity for student paramedics to complete the ALS course within their programme enhances their experience, improves their clinical capability and widens their employability.
Recognised ALS Instructors from several disciplines, including paramedics, anaesthetists, a GP trainee, an ODP and HSC lecturers delivered the programme according to Resuscitation Council guidelines. The course was assessed and approved by a regional representative, who commented that “The course was well organised with a high professional standard from the organisers and faculty.”
The success of the course was due to team of technicians, workforce administrators and paramedics.
The ALS course, while open to pre-hospital healthcare professionals, focuses on hospital-based patients. The students had undergone placements in hospital throughout their training but the School also ran an afternoon of hospital-based scenarios to aid their revision. The students found that the biggest challenges were learning the blood results required for each patient and taking a ‘step back’ approach to allow other team members to use their specialist skills to best support the patient.
Dr Rita Chotai, Medical Director and Consultant Anaesthetist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital said:
"I have never taught on an ALS course where the candidates were more enthusiastic or as well prepared as they were on this course."
A third year Paramedic student said:
"An incredible and invaluable, priceless experience. It has been the final stamp on my learning throughout my three-year degree and feel really confident about my future practice now.”
Only one of the 24 students who undertook the ALS course needs a retest, matching the national pass rate of 96 per cent.
All four HSC academics who undertook the course were recommended by the ALS Faculty as having ALS instructor potential, allowing them to run further courses in the future.
The course is also significant in paving the way for other higher education institutions to run equivalent courses.