Frontline Covid-19 Paramedics graduate from UCC

Conferrings of over 500 students from the College of Medicine and Health, UCC came to a conclusion today with a special conferring ceremony of the first graduates of UCC’s new BSc (Hons) Paramedic Studies Degree Course run in conjunction with the National Ambulance Service.

Conor Deasy, Professor of Emergency Medicine at UCC said: “It is an extremely joyous day to see this group of 22 paramedics being conferred today. The commitment displayed by these men and women to their patients and their profession is inspiring; day after day these students were on the frontline, donned PPE and cared for patients while studying on-line at UCC for this three-year Degree Course”.

All 22 now go on to work as full-time paramedics within the health services having secured permanent contracts with the National Ambulance Service.

Professor Deasy said UCC is currently educating just over 300 undergraduate Paramedics, 50 Masters in Community Paramedicine and Advanced Paramedicine and four Doctoral students in partnership with NAS.

University College Cork, he added, is aiming to launch a CAO entry pathway for Paramedic BSc to commence in Sept 2024. This, he said, is in response to the acknowledged workforce requirements associated with developments in Pre-Hospital Care and Slaintecare delivery.

Professor John O’Halloran, President UCC congratulated graduates from across the six Schools at the College of Medicine and Health, UCC - the Dental School

and Hospital, School of Medicine, School of Clinical Therapies, School of Nursing and Midwifery, School of Pharmacy and School of Public Health.

“We as a College are extremely proud and delighted to see over 500 graduates conferred at CoMH this week. We wish them luck as they embark now on their exciting new career paths as future healthcare professionals”.

Professor O’Halloran also welcomed the new phase of Paramedic education at UCC. It represents, he said, a significant step in UCC’s involvement in professional paramedic development and highlights our philosophy of being connected with the needs of our community in the courses we offer.

Head of the College of Medicine and Health, UCC Professor Helen Whelton said: “We are continuing to see great growth across the six schools at the College of Medicine and Health. We have witnessed 34% growth in student numbers since 2017 when we had 3,437 students. Today we have just over 4,500 students attending and this number continues to rise”.

‘‘This comes as no surprise as students have access to world-class educational facilities, prehospital training sites and clinical placements all supported with expert tuition’’ Professor Whelton added.

She highlighted that the state-of-the-art simulation suites and a modern virtual learning environment gives students an authentic learning experience delivered by excellent lecturers from a variety of academic and clinical backgrounds.

She welcomed the development of the profession of Paramedicine and the role UCC plays in that evolution; “The Paramedic skillset means they can respond to any form of emergency and have a mindset that allows them adapt quickly; traditionally Paramedics have been employed by Ambulance Services but increasingly we see them employed in GP practices, Emergency Departments and in austere workplaces like oil rigs and so on. Some have excelled as health service managers. Our role at UCC is to ensure they have that broad academic skill set that allows them be ambitious and achieve their potential”.

Robert Morton, Director of the National Ambulance Service highlighted the importance of these Graduates in delivering emergency care.

“One of the changes we have seen across the health service as a consequence of the COVID pandemic has been the change in how emergency and urgent care is accessed and how the delivery of those services needs to change now and into the future. These changes will present new and exciting opportunities for paramedicine both in terms of how we deliver our core services and how we collaborate with other healthcare professionals to create and deliver care in different settings. As the wider health service continues to realise the potential of paramedicine, we need sustained recruitment to our National Ambulance Service to deliver on those expectations, provide excellent care to our patients and offer graduates exciting career opportunities. Paramedicine a highly rewarding profession and I wish our new graduates all the very best’’.