Student paramedic training: Taking the next steps



Student paramedics are taking a momentous step in their careers this week as they join the frontline to treat patients.

The group are the first to complete their initial training as part of the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s (EEAST) push to recruit 400 student paramedics by April 2015.

As part of the two-and-a-half year course to become fully qualified paramedics, initial training began on April 7 with eight weeks in the classroom at the Trust’s training centre in Norwich. It followed three weeks on blue light driver training at Barton Mills in Suffolk which finished last Friday. They then work on an ambulance and are allocated a mentor whilst they progress their education to qualify as a registered paramedic.

Trust Chief Dr Anthony Marsh wished the students well: “It’s fantastic that the first group of students are now out treating patients; when I met them in Norwich, I was very impressed by their attitude and approach to their studies. They are embarking on a rewarding career and will be in a very privileged position in their communities, improving patient care and being part of  the frontline.”

Training and Education Manager Nicola Irons added: “Our team has worked hard to ensure as many people as possible have started courses in the last three months, and with this group completing the very intense initial training already, we are starting to reap the benefits of the efforts put in.”

Interim Consultant Paramedic Marcus Bailey closed the initial training course on Friday and said: “Many have made personal sacrifices in order to undertake this role, already showing their determination. Over the next two years they will work towards their qualifications that will lead to eligibility to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council. Our students have a vital role in our future success in providing quality care for our patients.”

Student paramedics David Starkey and Stefan Wasyliw spoke of their joy at passing the initial training.
David, 52, who will be based in Peterborough, felt "blessed and privileged" to be joining: "That's something wonderful about the NHS - it makes life so much better for me and people like me who want to do something different."

Thirty-two-year-old Stefan, based in Norwich, added: "You won't find a job like the ambulance service. I've worked in healthcare before so seeing patients won't be different, but it's been in a different environment and with a different ethos, so I'm looking forward to getting into the way the ambulance service does it."

The Trust has been recruiting since January and nearly 100 people are on courses across the region, with more than 200 offers of employment  made. As well as recruiting 400 student paramedics, EEAST is also working to progress current staff, including funding 24 emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to become paramedics through a foundation degree course in paramedic science at the University of Northampton, with more courses to follow. The students are starting their frontline careers in all areas of the region, and photo shows the students and tutors on Friday. If you want to know where they are in your area, please email



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