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Becoming a paramedic

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  • 12-02-2011 10:42pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 3


    I want to become a paramedic and having read previous threads on the forum I am even more confused.

    I am 20 and currently doing a degree in college, I have a year and a half left so I plan on finishing that first. I have done an occupational first aid course and I was thinking of joining a voluntary organisation like the Order of Malta in order to gain some experience and further training while I finish my degree.

    I would really like to know what my options are for becoming a paramedic both here and abroad when I have completed my degree. I know that I can’t become a paramedic privately in Ireland and would need to be accepted to the HSE.

    Any information on different courses that are available and how long it would take would to become qualified would be very much appreciated.
    Would I be able to finish my degree and train to be a paramedic at the same time?
    Would you recommend I do an EMT course?


Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20 dmatty06


    In ireland there is only one way of becoming a paramedic and that is through the HSE. This involves an apptitude text folled by an interview. upon successful completion of this you are put on a panel (waiting list) which is numbered. the first approx 25-30 people are then trained in the first intake class and the next 25-30 people in the next class and so on. this takes approx two years between training/placements andd intern year. having an emt course is a huge advantage (it is a prerequisite if certain leaving cert requirements are not fulfilled and someone should be able to confirm what they are here, although if you are already in a university you may have those pre-requisites already fulfilled) so emt will stand to you very much so on the interview as will experience with a voluntary organisation. The HSe have just completed a recruitment drive however and it is unknown how long before they start again (some say one year others say three)
    options abroad: the main option abroad is to do a paramedical science degree or diploma in a number of english universities which you will find on google. however this will not automatically require you to work as a paramedic in ireland as they have different training standards to here. in order to qualify as a paramedic here you will have to sit an exam for phecc accreditiation (pre hospital emergency care council who basically govern everyone from first responders to advanced paramedics in ireland)
    My own advice would be finish your degree and if you are willing to spend money on an emt course then do so over summer months and at the very least join a vol organisation. then go for next hse recruitment drive.
    hope it works out and you get what you want overall :)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3 Niamh12345


    Thanks for the reply, I meet the leaving cert requirements, I looked into doing an EMT course but because of the cost I won’t be able to do it until I finish my degree. What employment opportunities would doing an EMT course offer?
    As for the abroad options I looked into the degree programs but having to spend 3/4 more years in college as well as paying tuition fees isn’t really an option for me.

    Any recommendation regards voluntary orders and the differences between them? I live in Wexford so I think my only option is the Order of Malta.
    Is an Irish paramedic qualification internationally recognised? Would I be able to work in the uk or Australia?


  • Registered Users Posts: 923 ✭✭✭coolmoose


    Most of what you have asked is already answered here numerous times, so I'll only answer the "new" questions.

    Have a read of here for an overall view of application to employment: http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?threadid=2055986379

    Regarding voluntaries in Wexford:

    Irish Red Cross: For info on Eastern & South-Eastern branches, contact : 47 Mountjoy Street, Dublin 7. Ph: 01 8603819. Email: DublinOffice@redcross.ie. There is a number of IRC branches in Co. Wexford

    Order of Malta: http://www.orderofmalta.ie/what-we-do.asp?id=34&cid=274


    The Irish Paramedic qualification is generally recognised internationally, with add-on modules to be undertaken if required (e.g. cannulation etc.)

    You would generally need to have 2-3 years experience as a Paramedic in Ireland before applying to other jurisdictions however.

    EMT employment opportunities here are very limited at the moment.

    You would not be able to finish your degree and train part-time to become a Paramedic.

    Hope this helps.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3 Niamh12345


    Thanks for the link to the thread was really helpful.

    I think now I’m just going to concentrate on the voluntary work and getting the C1 and D1 licence although the thought of driving a truck is a little daunting. Then I should be ready for when the HSE start recruiting again.

    I know I can’t continue the degree and train to be a paramedic at the same time, if it came to it I would drop the degree.

    Is the interview process really competitive?
    Any idea which voluntary would be better to go with?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,783 ✭✭✭maglite


    I'd look to finish your degree, even if you forgo one recruitment drive.

    Which vol is better is a VERY local issue. Red Cross could be better in one parish, but Order of Malta are much better in another in an other etc.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 923 ✭✭✭coolmoose


    Niamh12345 wrote: »
    Thanks for the link to the thread was really helpful.

    I think now I’m just going to concentrate on the voluntary work and getting the C1 and D1 licence although the thought of driving a truck is a little daunting. Then I should be ready for when the HSE start recruiting again.

    I know I can’t continue the degree and train to be a paramedic at the same time, if it came to it I would drop the degree.

    Is the interview process really competitive?
    Any idea which voluntary would be better to go with?

    Yeah, driving licences and voluntary work is probably where you should focus your attention at the moment.

    I would continue your degree if I were you to be honest, it will be another while before recruitment comes around again anyway, and by the time the whole process runs through, you'll probably be finished anyway. You had asked
    "Would I be able to finish my degree and train to be a Paramedic at the same time?"
    hence why I answered that - you could however continue your degree and do a part-time EMT course if you so wished.

    To be honest, I'm not entirely convinced if having the EFR/EMT makes a huge difference for the application process, the vast majority of my class had no prior experience - and yet friends of mine who were EMTs at the time failed the interview process and were never awarded training places.

    The voluntaries are pretty much all the same, there is no one better than the other, Irish Red Cross and Order of Malta would be the largest voluntary ambulance providers in the country. Civil Defence would also have quite a large network of local units.

    You need to pick the one that suits your schedule, needs and that feels right for you. Anyone who tells you one is better than the other is being childish to be honest. You can always go to each one for a week or two as an observer and see which suits you better!


  • Registered Users Posts: 18 colinjp


    hey coolmoose with regards the add on qualifications - eg cannulation, where are these run ? do you need to do them here in ireland or can they be done abroad ?

    kind regards,

    Colin


  • Registered Users Posts: 923 ✭✭✭coolmoose


    They would be offered to you generally by the agency you have applied for employment with abroad - they would provide you with appropriate upskilling/training to the standard they are offering you employment at (e.g. EMT-I etc.)


  • Registered Users Posts: 18 colinjp


    cool thanks man


  • Registered Users Posts: 115 ✭✭kamiljkamil


    I just wanted to ask because am doing transition year and I want to be a paramedic after school.Does the HSE ambulance crews offer any ride along experiance.I will have insurance from the school.

    I have an LCVP exam for leaving cert which requires a portfolio done on a week of experiance...


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  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭BoonDoc


    coolmoose wrote: »
    They would be offered to you generally by the agency you have applied for employment with abroad - they would provide you with appropriate upskilling/training to the standard they are offering you employment at (e.g. EMT-I etc.)

    The problem with this, mate, is that few companies will be willing to pay for your upskilling when there are loads of other non PHECC fully qualified paramedics ready to take your non Ireland based job.


    PHECC Paramedic require upskilling in order to compare to other paramedics. It is the same with the Primary Care Paramedic in Canada. Sure they are called paramedic but they are EMT level everywhere else.

    The PHECC Paramedic is an EMT level with a lot more theoretical training. They are NOT paramedics.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paramedic#Paramedic_skills


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,706 ✭✭✭Celticfire


    dmatty06 wrote: »
    In ireland there is only one way of becoming a paramedic and that is through the HSE.

    Wrong. There's another institution that trains Paramedics in Ireland, DFB/RSCI.


  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭BoonDoc


    Celticfire wrote: »
    Wrong. There's another institution that trains Paramedics in Ireland, DFB/RSCI.

    As well as a few private paramedic training companies here in Ireland.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,706 ✭✭✭Celticfire


    BoonDoc wrote: »
    As well as a few private paramedic training companies here in Ireland.

    I don't see any other recognized institutions teaching Paramedic courses that will allow you to practice in Ireland except DFB/RCSI, NASC/UCD.


  • Registered Users Posts: 69 ✭✭palmtrees


    By the time you graduate you will be able to apply to do a BSc in paramedic science in UCD through the CAO system. It's going to commence in September 2015. Still in the planning stages.


  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭BoonDoc


    Celticfire wrote: »
    I don't see any other recognized institutions teaching Paramedic courses that will allow you to practice in Ireland except DFB/RCSI, NASC/UCD.

    That is because they offer US NREMT Paramedic certification.


  • Registered Users Posts: 923 ✭✭✭coolmoose


    BoonDoc wrote: »
    The problem with this, mate, is that few companies will be willing to pay for your upskilling when there are loads of other non PHECC fully qualified paramedics ready to take your non Ireland based job.


    PHECC Paramedic require upskilling in order to compare to other paramedics. It is the same with the Primary Care Paramedic in Canada. Sure they are called paramedic but they are EMT level everywhere else.

    The PHECC Paramedic is an EMT level with a lot more theoretical training. They are NOT paramedics.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paramedic#Paramedic_skills

    We'll have to agree to disagree on defining paramedics by their skill sets as opposed to their education.

    And to compare a 2 year diploma Paramedic (be it PHECC or PCP or whatever) with a 120-160ish hour EMT is not really accurate.


  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭BoonDoc


    coolmoose wrote: »
    We'll have to agree to disagree on defining paramedics by their skill sets as opposed to their education.

    And to compare a 2 year diploma Paramedic (be it PHECC or PCP or whatever) with a 120-160ish hour EMT is not really accurate.

    No. We are in complete agreement that the PHECC Paramedics have a lot of education. Two years is fantastic and far exceeds what I saw in Canada, US and elsewhere.

    My worry is this: I live in a very remote place on the west coast. I know that there is a high chance of me having a heart attack when I am 70+. Those are the statistics.

    The problem is that I will be treated by PHECC Paramedics and I will most certainly die. The survival rates for my part of Ireland are 0.5%. The Paramedics who come to my aid will not be able to cannulate me, will not have any clue about ALS, not have the cardiac drugs that I need, cannot pace my slow heart or sync my fast heart. They will hold my hand as I die.

    You can educate the feck out of someone but unless they have SKILLS, they are not good enough.


    It bugs the hell out of me that the HSE and PHECC are willing to let me die.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 175 ✭✭tosspot15


    palmtrees wrote: »
    By the time you graduate you will be able to apply to do a BSc in paramedic science in UCD through the CAO system. It's going to commence in September 2015. Still in the planning stages.

    terrible idea. I wonder if the EMT and c1 licence requirement + interviews and aptitude will still apply. I would hope so.


  • Registered Users Posts: 102 ✭✭stevie06


    BoonDoc wrote: »
    No. We are in complete agreement that the PHECC Paramedics have a lot of education. Two years is fantastic and far exceeds what I saw in Canada, US and elsewhere.

    My worry is this: I live in a very remote place on the west coast. I know that there is a high chance of me having a heart attack when I am 70+. Those are the statistics.

    The problem is that I will be treated by PHECC Paramedics and I will most certainly die. The survival rates for my part of Ireland are 0.5%. The Paramedics who come to my aid will not be able to cannulate me, will not have any clue about ALS, not have the cardiac drugs that I need, cannot pace my slow heart or sync my fast heart. They will hold my hand as I die.

    You can educate the feck out of someone but unless they have SKILLS, they are not good enough.


    It bugs the hell out of me that the HSE and PHECC are willing to let me die.

    Let's have a look at this claim of survival of only 0.5% in the west coast....... Can you please provide a source for this claim? And when you say heart attack can you specify do you mean MI or SCA? I don't think it is very fair saying that all a paramedic will do is hold your hand while you die!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭BoonDoc


    stevie06 wrote: »
    Let's have a look at this claim of survival of only 0.5% in the west coast....... Can you please provide a source for this claim? And when you say heart attack can you specify do you mean MI or SCA? I don't think it is very fair saying that all a paramedic will do is hold your hand while you die!

    That came from the PHECC annual report on out of hospital heart attacks.

    Does it really matter if you have an MI, SCA, SVT or bradycardia? The paramedic doesn't have the knowledge or skill to deal with that medical condition.
    No adenosine or syncing for SVT, no pacing or atropine for bradycardia (I know that atropine is being phased out), and more importantly the MONA treatment for MI. What are you going to do? Give him an IM injection of 10mg MS? Everyone knows that IM injections for anyone in shock doesn't do anything. In fact, the MS stays there until they get the circulation back and then it gets dumped into the system.


    This is not an attack against paramedics. You are reading me wrong. I am impressed with most of the paramedics that I meet. They are highly educated and enjoy their work.

    I am just one person who is very afraid that I will die because the HSE/PHECC refuse to properly train paramedics in this country.


  • Registered Users Posts: 102 ✭✭stevie06


    BoonDoc wrote: »
    That came from the PHECC annual report on out of hospital heart attacks.

    Does it really matter if you have an MI, SCA, SVT or bradycardia? The paramedic doesn't have the knowledge or skill to deal with that medical condition.
    No adenosine or syncing for SVT, no pacing or atropine for bradycardia (I know that atropine is being phased out), and more importantly the MONA treatment for MI. What are you going to do? Give him an IM injection of 10mg MS? Everyone knows that IM injections for anyone in shock doesn't do anything. In fact, the MS stays there until they get the circulation back and then it gets dumped into the system.


    This is not an attack against paramedics. You are reading me wrong. I am impressed with most of the paramedics that I meet. They are highly educated and enjoy their work.

    I am just one person who is very afraid that I will die because the HSE/PHECC refuse to properly train paramedics in this country.

    What am I going to do........ Well for MI/ chest painI 'm going to do everything a paramedic can do, a good patient assessment and interventions including Aspirin, nitrates and appropriate oxygen therapy, a 12 lead ECG.... If this shows ST segment changes I will implement my STEMI protocols and provide timely transport to a PPCI centre as well as administering plavix. So you see I can do many things for your MI. In the west you are lucky with an Aeromedical service within 10-20 mins providing direct access to PPCI with the gold standard 90 mins of first medical contact ( a paramedic in many cases) granted we can't give you Morphine but we have other options for pain relief. And if this doesn't suffice an advanced paramedic who will be on the EAS can provide it! So I disagree that PHECC and the NAS will let you die due to inferior Paramedics!


  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭BoonDoc


    So, assuming the best case scenario... you are a paramedic for my location but you are in Tralee with a patient. You drop the patient and rush the one hour back to the remote parts of Kerry. You get there one hour and ten minutes after the patient had the heart attack. You stabilise and transport the hour back to Tralee. So, 2.5 hours after the incident the patient gets to Tralee where they are triaged and treated. You are okay with that? You say that the helicopter is always there....are they? How many times do these paramedics drive their patient to Kerry, or Castlebar, or Letterkenny?

    Worst case scenario? Patient goes into full arrest. You see on the ECG that they are VF. You shock. You do compressions. You place an iGel or King LT. You reach for the Epi...but you can't administer it. You are not taught that. You cannot use Ami. You cannot treat Torsades. You cannot use Bicarb......

    You do what the CFR-Advanced can do.....push....shock...put in an iGel......If you are a EFR you give O2, GTN and ASA.


    Tell me I am wrong. Tell me that you would do something different than a 6 hour trained CFR-A or 5 day trained EFR.


  • Registered Users Posts: 102 ✭✭stevie06


    BoonDoc wrote: »
    So, assuming the best case scenario... you are a paramedic for my location but you are in Tralee with a patient. You drop the patient and rush the one hour back to the remote parts of Kerry. You get there one hour and ten minutes after the patient had the heart attack. You stabilise and transport the hour back to Tralee. So, 2.5 hours after the incident the patient gets to Tralee where they are triaged and treated. You are okay with that? You say that the helicopter is always there....are they? How many times do these paramedics drive their patient to Kerry, or Castlebar, or Letterkenny?

    Worst case scenario? Patient goes into full arrest. You see on the ECG that they are VF. You shock. You do compressions. You place an iGel or King LT. You reach for the Epi...but you can't administer it. You are not taught that. You cannot use Ami. You cannot treat Torsades. You cannot use Bicarb......

    You do what the CFR-Advanced can do.....push....shock...put in an iGel......If you are a EFR you give O2, GTN and ASA.


    Tell me I am wrong. Tell me that you would do something different than a 6 hour trained CFR-A or 5 day trained EFR.

    Boondoc,
    Your scenario above in Kerry is no longer talking about the skills of the paramedic but the utilisation of resources...... A higher trained paramedic is still going to be an hour away! It's starting to get a bit silly and something I'm not going to discuss!

    With regards to cardiac arrest, the key to survival is exactly what we can do, Professional effective CPR, and timely defibrillation! Yes granted we don't have the ACLS meds but for a witnesses VF/VT arrest the survival in the first phase of cardiac arrest can be as high as 49-75% with defibrillation! I won't argue that there are arrhythmia that require medications to stabilise but there are also ones that medications won't stop due to the underlying cause one such example is a thrombus in the coronary artery which may result in refractory VF that will only be stopped by removing the blockage........ Of course Amiodrone is an option but in certain cases may be unsuccessful. Some of the most successful EMS systems in the world rely heavily on Community First responders and the community bassed approach that incourages Bystander CPR and public access defibrillators! King county states this as the corner stone for their 57% survival rates last year........ It's not all about the Gucci Medications that a paramedic can or can't give. Sometimes it's the basics that make a difference!


  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭BoonDoc


    Fair enough. I agree that the CPR protocol is push and shock. Even the epi will be removed in 2015 due to that Japanese study.

    So you feel that the skills list of the PHECC paramedic is perfect for giving the best service to the community?


  • Registered Users Posts: 102 ✭✭stevie06


    BoonDoc wrote: »
    Fair enough. I agree that the CPR protocol is push and shock. Even the epi will be removed in 2015 due to that Japanese study.

    So you feel that the skills list of the PHECC paramedic is perfect for giving the best service to the community?

    No system is perfect, but we work within our scope of practice to deliver the best service we can to the community. The Pre-Hospital care in Ireland is evolving and lots of things are changing and improvements are happening! New meds and skills are being added to our scope every year.


  • Registered Users Posts: 69 ✭✭palmtrees


    tosspot15 wrote: »
    terrible idea. I wonder if the EMT and c1 licence requirement + interviews and aptitude will still apply. I would hope so.

    I disagree that it is a terrible idea. I think it could be a good thing if it is done correctly.

    Just out of curiosity - are there any studies out there which compare the university degree programme route vs. what we currently have here for NAS and DFB?

    Totally agree that an interview should be part of the selection process. EMT is a good idea in theory but I don't consider an EMT license to be worth a whole lot without the relevant experience to go with it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 774 ✭✭✭Bang Bang


    tosspot15 wrote: »
    terrible idea. I wonder if the EMT and c1 licence requirement + interviews and aptitude will still apply. I would hope so.

    The EMT qualification was put in place to bridge a gap as a alternative to a leaving certificate science subject so I would imagine that the EMT requirement will be gone as one would finish college with a higher clinical level as EMT.
    As for the C1 driving licence, it is a requirement for the role of a paramedic so it will remain a requirement as long as there are ambulances requiring it.
    Interviews and aptitude tests, I would imagine they will also remain. Are there many college courses that guarantee a position in the chosen field of work?


  • Registered Users Posts: 406 ✭✭truebluesac


    palmtrees wrote: »
    I disagree that it is a terrible idea. I think it could be a good thing if it is done correctly.

    Just out of curiosity - are there any studies out there which compare the university degree programme route vs. what we currently have here for NAS and DFB?

    Totally agree that an interview should be part of the selection process. EMT is a good idea in theory but I don't consider an EMT license to be worth a whole lot without the relevant experience to go with it.

    In my opinion you will finish this course and have very little experience . After you finish you are not gareenteed a job . So in fact you will be in the same position as the Current EMT's


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  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭BoonDoc


    palmtrees wrote: »
    I don't consider an EMT license to be worth a whole lot without the relevant experience to go with it.

    nice one, mate. Experience really does separate the medic from the mayhem.


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