College of Paramedics and South Western Ambulance Service sign agreement
The College of Paramedics and the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) have entered into a landmark agreement to work together to promote and distribute a new Practice Educator course to be used as a national standard for the paramedic profession.
Created initially for SWASFT and written by the trust’s Learning and Development Officer, Lizzie Ryan, the non-accredited, e-learning Practice Educator course will now be offered free of charge to every ambulance trust in the UK and every university delivering Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) approved paramedic programmes.
It is hoped that this national approach will help improve patient safety and offer effective practice-based learning for frontline staff.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed at Taunton Ambulance Station, Somerset, by Bob Fellows, Head of Education at the College of Paramedics and Alex Jamieson, Continuing Professional Development Team Leader at SWASFT.
The course is aligned with the College of Paramedics’ own Practice Educator and Facilitator handbook, and the HCPC and Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Standards, so that it is a more appropriate course for paramedics and ambulance clinicians.
It recognises the unique environment of the ambulance service, as opposed to courses written for other arenas of emergency care, such as in-hospital staff. The course can be read, watched or listened to – or all three. Students need to complete interactive quiz blocks to move forward in each section to complete it.
Alex says: “This has been a big project for SWAFST’s Technology Enhanced Learning Team and Lizzie to produce this e-learning module. It’s clear Lizzie has managed to distil her experience and passion as an educator into this course. We are very proud this work is being endorsed by the College of Paramedics as a national resource.”
Lizzie, who has expertise in mentorship, coaching, mindfulness, clinical supervision and practice educator support, says: “Supporting student paramedics in developing from novice to practitioner, through the early years of their career, draws upon the skills and knowledge of the colleagues around them. Although practice education is transferable across professions, the skills needed in paramedic practice are somewhat different.
“I was so pleased to be able to develop this course to support our newly-qualified paramedics in fulfilling their portfolio criteria; and to support the development of staff, who are supporting our learners in practice in the trust.”
SWASFT’s Assistant Director of People Development & Educational Transformation, Paula Windsor, adds: “This course, recognised and endorsed by the College of Paramedics, will be offered to other ambulance trusts to create a national focus on student and preceptorship support. The Trust is incredibly proud of this achievement. We now are working with the University of Gloucestershire to accredit the course at Master’s Degree level.”
Bob Fellows, Head of Education for the College of Paramedics, said: “In 1966, to meet the evolving role of prehospital care in the UK, the Millar Report set out a national approach to training and developing ambulance staff; a legacy which still holds real value for the College of Paramedics as we work with partners to drive standards forward.
“As such, we are very pleased to have signed this Memorandum of Understanding with SWASFT and look forward to working with them to promote this new national Practice Educator course.
“We will be making the course available to all education providers in Higher Education Institutions and ambulance services to ensure a clearer standardisation in how we support, assess, mentor and preceptor our students and newly-registered paramedics.”
The accredited version is currently going through validation with the University of Gloucestershire as a level 7 (MSc) level partnership module.