Receptionist Emma flies high on new Paramedic Science course
Wales Air Ambulance receptionist Emma Whitby will be flying high this September, when she becomes one of the first students on the new Higher Education Diploma in Paramedic Science at Swansea University.
The 20 year-old Birchgrove resident, who has worked with the charity for nearly three years, will join other aspiring paramedics on the first course of its kind in Wales, offered by the University’s School of Health Science.
Emma, who has wanted to be a paramedic since she was five years old, said: “Every time I saw a paramedic I would get excited. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
While studying for her BTEC National Diploma in Health Studies, she signed up to help Wales Air Ambulance on a volunteer recruitment day at Neath Port Talbot College.
Gaining experience as a volunteer for Wales Air Ambulance strengthened her passion to be a paramedic and gave her a valuable insight into what she has described as her "dream job".
As valued member of the Wales Air Ambulance team, she later joined the charity full-time, working on reception, events and in administration, while she completed a HND in Health Studies.
After successfully completing her HND earlier this year, Emma applied to study for the two-year full-time Higher Education Diploma in Paramedic Science at Swansea.
The course will see her working on various placements, including the ambulances, and is hoping her experience with Wales Air Ambulance crew will prepare her for the training.
Emma has worked closely with the crew since joining as a volunteer, and her ultimate ambition is to one day return to Wales Air Ambulance as a Helimed paramedic.
She said: “I’m going to miss working for Wales Air Ambulance, and will miss the team. It’s been a fantastic experience and hopefully I’ll be working with them all again one day.”
The Higher Education Diploma in Paramedic Science, which is a unique partnership between Swansea University’s School of Health Science and the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust, will revolutionise the way Welsh paramedics are educated.
The collaboration means that all paramedics in Wales will take part in a Higher Education programme that meets the academic and professional requirements of Swansea University and the Health Professions Council (HPC).
The ambitious project is a result of the Welsh Ambulance Services’ commitment to respond to the wider changes in the pattern of disease and injury; the impact of technology; patient and service delivery needs, and the consequent expanding role of the paramedic profession.
Professor Melanie Jasper, Head of the School of Health Science, said: “We recognise that the move to higher education is a significant development in the history of the ambulance service, and we are extremely proud to have been selected as its premier partner in providing training for paramedics across Wales.
“This new initiative will see the University implementing a range of education and developmental packages designed to meet the needs of the whole profession across Wales.”
Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust Chief Executive Alan Murray said: “This unique partnership forms part of one of the many pioneering initiatives that the Welsh Ambulance Services have recently implemented, ultimately aimed at transforming the ambulance services in Wales to provide the very best provision of care to patients.
“Swansea University has a national reputation as a centre of excellence for paramedic education in Wales, having run the BSc Pre-Hospital Care degree for the last decade. It is an active member of the Higher Education Ambulance Development Group (HEADG), and works closely with the British Paramedic Association (BPA).
“All these competitive advantages make it an ideal educational partner for the Welsh Ambulance Services, as we seek to enrich the learning experience of our ambulance staff and produce practitioners who have the knowledge, skills, aptitudes and attitudes to play an increasingly important role in an ever-changing modern healthcare service."
Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust National Training Manager, Mike Collins added: “I am delighted for my team to have the opportunity to collaboratively deliver the Higher Education Paramedic Science programme alongside colleagues from the School of Health Science at Swansea.
“This programme will ensure that paramedics continue to deliver clinical excellence to patients throughout Wales.”
The range of courses, to be introduced at Swansea, include a Diploma of Higher Education, expansion on the very successful Pre-Hospital Care undergraduate degree, and a Masters degree for paramedic practitioners.
Considerable work has been undertaken and is still ongoing to develop the Paramedic Science Curriculum in line with national and professional guidance.
“These new educational programmes have been designed to meet the new models of healthcare service delivery, and will be structured around the British Paramedic Association’s (BPA) curriculum framework,” added Professor Jasper.
“Ultimately, this new partnership will raise the level of education for paramedics in Wales, elevating the level of care our ambulance staff provide to patients.”
For more information on the Higher Education Diploma in Paramedic Science at Swansea University’s School of Health Science, call 01792 518531 or visit the website.
To find out how you can get involved with Wales Air Ambulance, call the volunteer hotline on 0844 85 84 999, or visit their official website.