Wrexham Glyndwr University is now offering a Degree in Paramedic Science, a role which is rocketing in popularity, partly due to a string of TV documentaries about the profession.
Shows such as the BBC’s Ambulance and Channel 4’s Paramedics: Britain’s Lifesavers have provided a glimpse into the life of a Paramedic to the wider public.
It is the first time such a course has been available in this part of North Wales, and means prospective students from the area can stay local to pursue their studies.
The course will be led by Senior lecturer Daniel Finnerty, who has been a Paramedic since 2007 and arrives at Wrexham Glyndwr from Birmingham City University.
Daniel has worked for three ambulance trusts, and worked for three years on cruise ships as a paramedic officer, before going on to teach newly-qualified Paramedics.
He is now looking forward to launching the new Degree, which has already received huge interest from prospective students.
Daniel said: “It’s such an exciting opportunity to create a modern Paramedic programme from scratch.
“This is one of the first Paramedic programmes to be written post-Covid. It will focus on the importance of patient assessment, use of technology, use of simulation during education.
“I’ve almost been overwhelmed by how many people who live locally seem to have been waiting for this opportunity. There’s always been great interest in Paramedic Science because it’s such a visible profession.
“People see Paramedics in every day life, and there has also been an increase in publicity because of some of the documentaries on TV, the perception of it being an exciting, dramatic career – people are interested in it.
“Young people that have approached me about the course so far tend to be local, they want to stay local, and want to stay home. Then there are others who have wanted to do this for a very long time, or are currently in the ambulance service, or a first responding role locally, who are also able to pursue it as it’s close to home.”
Daniel added: “Ideally we’d be looking for people who have care experience, or customer facing it experience. It doesn’t have to be in-depth because we know how difficult it is to get volunteer placements particularly if you’re 18 or younger, especially during Covid.
“Perhaps someone been caring for a relative, undertaken a volunteer role or part-time job, it’s something they really want to do, not just because they’ve seen it on TV.”
Although the rise in TV documentaries following the emergency services has created a huge surge of interest in the profession, Daniel says they show just a fraction of what day-to-day life is like for a Paramedic – and that prospective students looking to embark on a career in need be aware of all it involves.
He said: “The documentaries are great to introduce what we do to the wider public as you can’t go in an ambulance on work experience – but they are dramatised – so we want people who have researched and know what Paramedics do, who know that what is shown on TV is 10 per cent of the job.
“The other aspects are wellbeing, social care, health issues, referrals, it can be routine healthcare assessments too.
“It’s important that people realise that it’s an academic programme, it’s a Science programme, so you have got to be prepared to study, to learn, to commit to the experience.
“If you’re not the most academic that’s okay, the University will support you – but you’ve got to have that drive to engage with the lessons, the pre and post-session material, the resources available, the personal tutors.
“You need to know anatomy, about bones, cells, structures. It can be quite challenging so we’re looking for resilience as well. It’s not just a job. It’s a profession, you own it. It’s a profession that is rapidly changing, and opens the door to many other roles in the NHS.”
The HEIW commission means that bursary funding may be available for eligible students who commit to working in Wales after completion of their studies.
This bursary would cover the cost of their studies, for more information visit here.
Students who accept the bursary and commit to working in Wales for the first two years of their career gain the opportunity to become part of its dedicated NHS workforce.
To learn more about the BSc (Hons) Paramedic Science Degree at Wrexham Glyndwr University, please visit https://glyndwr.ac.uk/courses/undergraduate-courses/paramedic-science/
Pictured: Senior Lecturer and Programme Lead for Paramedic Science, Daniel Finnerty.