Representatives of Charles Sturt University (CSU) and the Ambulance Service of NSW will tomorrow, Wednesday, 14 April 14 sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which is expected to see an unprecedented level of collaboration in support of boosting CSU paramedic enrolments to 300 students a year.
It will also accelerate study programs to guaranteed jobs, establish graduate mentoring programs and increase joint research. The signing formalises significant collaborative work already underway.
The Vice-Chancellor and President of CSU, Professor Ian Goulter, said, “This MoU recognises Charles Sturt University as one of the largest and most progressive academic providers of paramedic graduates in Australia. The program is consistent with the University’s mission to educate for jobs in the professions.”
A major element of the MoU is the Accelerated Paramedic Pathway Program, which allows selected students, after six months of study at CSU, to be guaranteed a job with the Ambulance Service of NSW. They will undertake clinical placements with the service and, once they complete the first two years of the program, will obtain paid work with the Service and have their study costs covered for their last few subjects.
Professor Goulter said: “We’ll also boost new paramedic enrolments from 200 to 300 students a year. “Once these commencing students are pipelined, we will have 1 000 paramedics-in-training at Charles Sturt University. The Ambulance Service of NSW has committed to providing appropriate clinical placements, a compulsory element of the program.”
A ‘self-fulfilling’ mentoring program will also be provided by the MoU, where graduates will work as mentors to undergraduates who will, in turn, mentor when they graduate, increasing their skill set to evolve into supervisors in the Ambulance Service of NSW. The mentor and supervisor programs will involve professional development opportunities for current graduates, plus a collaborative approach to adjusting the undergraduate curriculum to ensure CSU graduates emerge with excellent mentoring skills.
“This and other new programs will be the subject of joint evaluation and research to ensure the University and the Ambulance Service of NSW create a culture of continual improvement in the undergraduate program, professional development opportunities and health provision for the community,” Professor Goulter said.
“Our work goes some way to remedying the fact that paramedics do not feature in the spotlight in the current debate on health reform.”
Chief Executive of the Ambulance Service of NSW Greg Rochford said, “The Service is committed to maintaining a well-educated paramedic workforce to ensure the community receives high quality care.
“We have a history of collaboration with Charles Sturt University and have long recognised the benefits of university education in preparing paramedics for the increasingly complex and evolving environment of emergency medical care in the community. The MoU represents a new strengthening of that relationship and will assist us to more effectively attract quality graduates to the clinical workforce and support achieving our vision of excellence in care”.
Clinical placements are integral to the success of undergraduate education and will allow students to be introduced to the Service’s clinical workplace in a structured and safe manner. The increase in student numbers will increase demand for clinical placements, however this is considered an investment by the Ambulance Service of NSW in maintaining a skilled workforce.
The Graduate Internship program facilitated by the Ambulance Service of NSW has also been designed to specifically meet the needs of graduates as they commence employment. The Service looks forward to collaborating with CSU in the development of its mentoring capability. This will extend support for students to ensuring the Ambulance Service of NSW has the capacity to support the development of paramedics throughout their career.
Paramedic Education – the facts
Accelerated Paramedic Pathway Program:
- New program designed to fast-track entry into the paramedic profession.
- Guarantees students employment with the Ambulance Service of NSW while studying the third year of CSU’s Bachelor of Clinical Practice (Paramedic).
- start applying the knowledge and skills learnt in the first two years in the real world during their third year of study
- gain paid employment and other financial support while studying and well before graduation
- achieve recognition as a qualified paramedic after only three years of study.
- Graduates work professionally in paramedic occupations as ambulance officers, paramedics and emergency response personnel. Most ambulance authorities now offer graduate programs and specifically target CSU students.