Staff, students and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) representatives in the first of its kind simulated ambulance to be used in teaching the new programme.
The University of Ulster's Magee campus in Derry marked an historic first for the North this week when it welcomed 40 students to the region’s first ever Bachelor of Science (BSc) Honours Paramedic Sciences programme.
With funding support from the Department of Health, the new three-year course will be based within multi award-winning School of Nursing on the Magee campus.
The course is being offered by the university to support the development of the paramedic profession in the North and wider afield.
Until now, students here wishing to become paramedics have had to travel to the Republic or across the Irish Sea to complete a BSc Honours programme in paramedic science.
The first cohort of students ranges in age from school leavers to people in their 40s.
They come from a wide range of backgrounds from those embarking on a change of career from accountancy to insurance; to those working in similar fields: ambulance care assistant, lifeguard, emergency medical dispatcher and humanitarian.
A specially designed simulated ambulance - the only one of its kind in the region - has been custom- built on the Magee campus so that students have access to the best simulated learning experience in order to hone their skills and confidence to excel in their future role.
Through frequent experience and learning inside the exact replica of an ambulance, coupled with 60 weeks practice-based learning with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and a range of other hospital and community-based experience in the other health and social care trusts and independent sector partners, they will learn a wide range of skills - meaning that in emergency situations they will be able to provide the very best care to people in most need of it.
The students will also have access to a wealth of specially designed training spaces from a hospital ward, simulated bedrooms and living room recreated on campus, to clinical skills rooms and a wide range of the latest equipment, to set them up for success in their chosen field.
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