Monday, May 27, 2024

CNA producing top-tier paramedicine students

Paramedicine students participate in a mock disaster as part of their training in Stephenville, NL.

Primary Care Paramedicine program presented opportunities during the pandemic

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that first responders are a vital part of the health care system’s chain of operations.

This is why Tom Adams, a Primary Care Paramedicine instructor at the college’s Bay St. George campus in Stephenville, is proud to say the program is producing graduates who are at the top of their game.

“Primary Care Paramedicine is an intense hands-on, two-year diploma program that teaches students the skills necessary to help families and individuals through the most trying times of their lives,” he said. “Being a nationally accredited program, our graduates are granted the opportunity to write the Canadian Organization of Paramedic Regulators (COPR) Primary Care Paramedic (PCP) entry to practice examination, which allows our graduates practice as a Paramedic across the nation.”

He says the program is a great fit for anyone with a brain for science and a heart for people.

“Our ideal candidates are those who have a passion for science, a desire to help alleviate suffering, and the drive to challenge their critical thinking and problem-solving skills on a daily basis.”

Adams attributes the success of his students to the fully immersive, real-world training they receive.

“When it comes to the national exam, our graduates score higher on average than the majority of PCP program graduates from across Canada,” he said. “We are one of the only programs across Canada to integrate full hands-on High Fidelity Patient Simulation training throughout our entire program. We constantly search for new and innovating ways to better prepare our students for the unique situations they’ll see when they enter field of Paramedicine.”

A member of the colleges PCP instructional team since 2017, Adams says a highlight of the job for him is caring for people during their time of need.

“My favourite part of the job is the fact we get to be the hand that guides people through some of the toughest times of their lives,” he said. “And, for a period of time, we are the ones who ensure that everything that can be done to better those situations is done. “

Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic did present some challenges.

“In regard to our clinical placements, our students train daily with the safe use of all medical personal protective equipment (PPE),” said Adams. “This proficient use of safety equipment kept them safe from viral transmission, even while being hands-on with real patients on a daily basis. This training allowed them to continue their field training, while remaining safe from the virus.”

Despite the unique challenges presented by the pandemic, the instructor says it also presented some unique opportunities.

“We were able to temporarily modify the way we teach the program and really test out what our technology at the CNA Primary Care Paramedic program can do,” he said. “During the peak of COVID-19 while we were all off-campus to control viral spread, we were able to utilize our online software to continue teaching our theory material live to our students online. Our fully wireless and High Fidelity Patient Simulation equipment, which we were already utilizing in our labs before COVID-19 struck, allowed us to safely return to our hands-on training much earlier than most programs may have been able to while minimizing to all but eliminating any risk of viral transmission between students or staff.

In his blood

Born and raised on a farm in Southwestern Ontario, Adams completed his Primary Care Paramedic training at Ontario’s Lambton College and brings a wide range of talents to the role.

“I came to the island as a Primary Care Paramedic working out of Channel-Port aux Basques in 2011,” he recalled. “While working I completed my Advanced Care Paramedic training in January 2016 through Medavie HealthEd’s ACP distance program in Nova Scotia. And, in 2017 I moved to Stephenville, NL to join the CNA Primary Care Paramedic faculty to help make the next generation of Primary Care Paramedics.”

His interest in a career in Paramedicine came after a family member showed an interest in the field.

“In high school I wasn’t much of a planner, and I was undecided as to what I was going to do with my life, but one of my older siblings was already a Paramedic and showed a real passion for the profession. That’s why I applied to the program. I wasn’t in the program long before I was planning my entire future around my next steps as a Paramedic.”

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Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne is Editor of CNA Currents. Born and raised in Stephenville, NL, Ryanne moved back to Newfoundland after spending 16 years in Calgary, Alberta. Ryanne has a Journalism Diploma from College of the North Atlantic and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cape Breton University. She worked for many years as a reporter and freelance writer. She is happy to be back in her hometown and working for CNA.


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