The next generation of Northern Territory paramedics will be taking their skills on the road next year, as the first cohort of Charles Darwin University (CDU) Bachelor of Paramedicine students complete their studies.
Ten Northern Territory students will complete their studies this year and graduate from the Bachelor of Paramedicine in May 2024.
In partnership with St John Ambulance NT and launched in 2021, the Bachelor of Paramedicine aims to give students the opportunity to experience a qualification tailored to the medical landscape of the Northern Territory, with a key part of this being simulations and clinical placements.
All students undertake three placements totalling 600 hours with St John Ambulance NT at both Darwin and Alice Springs.
The first placement builds on basic knowledge of clinical skills in Paramedicine, while the second and third placements put students in ‘real-life’ settings under the supervision of practicing paramedics.
The graduating students can soon move onto the next stage of their career and apply for a 12-month internship with the Territory’s ambulance service, beginning in late January 2024. Once this is complete the graduates will have the opportunity to be hired by St John in the Northern Territory.
CDU Paramedicine Course Coordinator Sam Willis said the simulations and placements embedded throughout the qualification prepared graduating students for the challenges of real-life medical emergencies.
“The workshops allow students to practice clinical skills safely before going into clinical placement and practicing them under supervision on real people,” Mr Willis said.
“During the intensive workshop students learn skills such as: how to assess and treat acutely and chronically ill patients, manage a cardiac arrest, communication skills and students get to drive the simulated ambulance for authentic learning.
“In 2024 we are aspiring to run an aeromedical retrieval unit in Year 3, which will be the first of its kind in paramedicine in Australia.”
St John Ambulance NT Director of Ambulance Services Andrew Thomas said the organisation’s partnership with CDU was critical for developing a homegrown paramedic workforce.
“Paramedicine is an amazing career which provides people with an opportunity to work in a changing and challenging environment that has an impact on people’s lives,” Mr Thomas said.
“This a great step for the Northern Territory and for paramedics here. We now have students who live local, learn local and will be employed local.”
Chief Minister Natasha Fyles congratulated the paramedicine students on approaching the end of their studies.
“It is exciting to see the first cohort of the new Bachelor of Paramedicine degree graduate next year, and get the skills they need to work here in the Territory,” Ms Fyles said.
“My Government is focused on creating opportunity here in the Territory. With CDU and St John partnering together – they are working to fill a critical gap, and develop our home-grown paramedic workforce.
“The training these students are receiving are world class, with access to simulation real life settings, and time out on the field.”
Applications are open for the Bachelor of Paramedicine in 2024.