Paramedical Science Major at ECU

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Paramedical Science Major at ECU

Post by paramedicpathway »

Ok here is the deal, I am in my final year of high school this year and my dream ever since I can remember is to become a paramedic. However, I am aware that in order to apply for the Student Ambulance Officer and subsequently the Bachelor of Paramedical Science at ECU you need to have 3 years life experience after finishing school.

I read on the ECU website that as of 2011 a Paramedical Science Major was introduced and is open to school leavers. I was wondering if choosing to study this next year would help me in my application process when I am old enough to apply for the Student Ambulance Officer. Does anyone know any details about the course and how many years it goes for???

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Re: Paramedical Science Major at ECU

Post by Infernal »

Hi in my opinion you would be better off not being at uni, SJA want some one with life experience, not some one Thats been at school for the last 15 years.

Also the first year with SJA/ECU is un paid, so you would be better off spending that time saving some money.

Thats just my opinion.

The ECU website doesn't say much, however it still says that you have to meet the requirements of SJA employment.

ECU offers a list of courses that form part of the Paramedical science degree, and SJA do reconise prior learning so you can do the nursing components, and that will fast track you, however this never ensures guaranteed employment with SJA
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Re: Paramedical Science Major at ECU

Post by Geneva »

Hey mate,

The degree through ECU is a Bachelor of Biomedical Science with a major in Paramedicine. At the moment it's not 100% industry recognised in that after completing it you can't gain employment with a state service as with other paramedical degrees offered interstate. It does have a number of units which are part of the K89 program (Bachelor of Science (Paramedical Science)) which is the program that people who have passed the SJA recruitment cycle are allowed to enter into, and from memory there are 10 units which are matched 100% with the K89 program (All first year units for K05 and K89 are the same plus a few later on in the degree).

As AO11912 mentioned, theres a few things to consider. Firstly, throughout the entire industry in Australia, the most difficult part is getting your foot in the door. During the recruitment phase they are looking for very distinct characteristics and traits, and also on the look out for things that may preclude you, or indicate that you might not be suitable to the job. You should be focussing on things that will make you stand out and give a track record to show that you are suitable. The old saying "past performance indicates future performance" comes to mind with this advice. Do things which show that you want to enter the profession and do them to the best of your ability (Volunteer, gain meaningful employment, join the defence reserves, sports teams etc) as these are all things that they look out for. It is possible to do the course or a course with units which will facilitate RPL later on if you are accepted into SJA straight after finishing school, however completing these units (even with ridiculously high marks) will not guarantee employment. With the introduction if the K05 program, there was a huge influx of people into the degree, so competition is now more stringent as there are ALOT of K05 students on top of the people who apply directly, but also the K05 major has also had a shadow cast on it as there are not really any suitability checks and a number of questionable people can get into it and use that to get through aspects of the recruiting phase, although these are pretty much always found out (i.e. people entering with drink driving convictions, people getting admittance after failing other tertiary courses, people who simply don't have the character for the job etc).

Secondly, life experience is a huge one. Don't take this the wrong way (Im only 22, started studying when I was 21, was pissed off that I couldn't get into the job at 18, but now fully understand why) but a lot of young people intend on entering into the degree (interstate this is very easy straight from school, as it is here if you want to gain admittance into the K05) and the job without fully understanding what the job entails, or simply without the maturity. Priority driving, lights and sirens, scenes of chaos and getting to wear a onsie to work seem to be attractive to young people. Action, adrenalin and all the stuff that goes with it is often the major things people talk about when asked "why do you want to do that?". I know this was definitely a part of my psyche back when I was just wrapping up high school, and certainly still is now, but a few years in the real world will allow you to mature just that little bit and experience the other aspects of the job which as an 18 year old not many people have. Working and communicating with people (patients, partner, families, other healthcare professionals/emergency workers) often in difficult environments/situations, managing adversity (imagine sitting in an ambo on night shift with a partner you don't like and who doesn't like you and having to maintain professionalism and make complex decisions with them, or the patient/bystander who wants to hurt you simply because you're an easy target when you're kneeling next to his girlfriend who has been assaulted by someone happens), or the other aspects such as human suffering and sadness (which sometimes you can do nothing about i.e. reversing a drug overdose on a young person, getting abused by them and then having them refuse transport knowing they're on their way to another hit and probably another call to you for treatment, or telling an elderly lady that her husband has passed away in his sleep after they have spent the last 50 years together) and then there's the obvious aspects such as death and trauma. On top of this theres a dozen other things like shift work, lots and lots (and lots and lots) of study and training and then some more which I could go into, but Im sure you get my point. A few years in the "real world" will allow you to mature remarkably and give yourself a track record/proof that you want to do the job, and are suitable to do the job.

I have never doubted that I wanted to enter into the profession, my interest stemmed when I was about 10 years old, and when I finished school I was keen to just somehow get into the job and get on road, but like you, I started doing research and worked out a plan that I thought would be good for me. Getting into the job at 18-21 is possible straight up, but difficult, so I decided to do a few things which would give me some experience and oversight about the job. Simple things like volunteering, getting a job within a health environment and a few others. With this, I was lucky to get in when I applied, and theres a few other people around my age who have entered with other routes, right up through to mature age students exiting one professional career for another (everything from mums (they make the best ambos I've seen so far), tradies, teachers and even a musician).

Now, apologies for my ramblings, you can tell I love this job and get a little bit excited when Im talking about it, it is a great profession and I am very passionate about it. My advice is this (and this is based on what worked for me, so might not be recommended by others or suitable to you).1. Get a full time job after school, preferably one that involves working with people. 2. Volunteer. This doesn't have to be ambulance/first aid related, but obviously won't do any harm. Anything from SES, fireies, Salvos, working with people with disabilities etc. This stands in good stead during recruitment. 3. Study. Either uni part time or external, courses (free courses through volunteering is a great way to bolster this, plus you learn alot). 4. Keep up other normal life activities like sports, relationships etc (they do ask about these during recruitment) and 5.Make sure you really want to do the job and for the right reasons. Driving with lights and sirens sounds pretty cool, but being able to comfort someone who's in a bad state, being able to hold a conversation with someone who is socially isolated while you transport them to care or going to your 4th pissed and fell over call for the night and being able to maintain a sense of humour and stay professional even though it's 4am, your van smells like partially digested kebab mixed with 10 vodka lemon limes and the patients boyfriend wants to fight you for talking to his girlfriend is what the job is all about. You get to work with and learn from some of the most amazing people you will ever meet (not just ambos either, patients, other emergency services, other health professionals like to pass on their knowledge) and function in a role where you are trusted and relied upon by people who are at their most vulnerable. Im rambling again, so I'll cut it off there. If you have any other questions feel free to post them and I'll reply when I can.
Last edited by Geneva on Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Paramedical Science Major at ECU

Post by written_ficton »

I know of a mate that had the exactly the same situation, he ended up becoming a nurse in the UK and after a few years in the ER 'transfered' from Nursing to being a patient transfer then onto being a paramedic.

Long time, but he loved every minute of it
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Re: Paramedical Science Major at ECU

Post by Zebedee »

Wow - that's a comprehensive response there Geneva. Between what you've written and what AO11912 had typed up previously, I reckon it gives a pretty fair picture of "what it's like" for someone considering that as a career.
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Re: Paramedical Science Major at ECU

Post by vk6hgr »

Zebedee wrote:Wow - that's a comprehensive response there Geneva. Between what you've written and what AO11912 had typed up previously, I reckon it gives a pretty fair picture of "what it's like" for someone considering that as a career.
Agreed. Thanks, Geneva.
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Re: Paramedical Science Major at ECU

Post by SJANT »

Have to agree life experience is definitely something needed. I was fortunate to get into the job quite young. Like others have said getting employed is the hard bit. I think of it like being in the police or fire service. Hard to get in but once you're in you're in and transferring between states isn't too bad. A major criticism of the roadies is that people doing uni courses just don't have enough time on road during the course to really learn and perform skills. Direct entry like in the NT, NSW and WA still seems to be preferred as you spend lots of time on road and still due to this have context to what you learn.

Ask any nurse and after a few years in the job and they say I wish I paid attention at uni because now there is context to the knowledge it makes a lot more sense and is really important.

For life experience I'd recommend doing some time in the military full time or reserves. Great variety of skills to be gained and after being yelled at by the corporals at kapooka you'll learn to pull you're head in and keep your mouth shut when appropriate. Nothing like a bit of self discipline like they teach you.

If you're heart is really set on the job look interstate to some of the courses or services available. Whilst it's nice to stay in your home state experience in other services is valuable too. You never know you might like it so much you'll never go back. Try direct entry to other services or some of the uni courses interstate. They do allow direct entry but there are so many available now some people have trouble getting a job after they finish them and end up working for private patient transport companies instead. With direct entry you'll have a job already and much more road experience compared to other uni grads. Unis are pumping out so many paramedic course grads at the moment I think it is actually one of the most popular courses now so it's getting quite competitive to get into now. Over the last few years it seems that being a paramedic is really flavour of the month for some reason. No idea why it has suddenly become so popular.
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Re: Paramedical Science Major at ECU

Post by jezza »

SJANT wrote:For life experience I'd recommend doing some time in the military full time or reserves. Great variety of skills to be gained and after being yelled at by the corporals at kapooka you'll learn to pull you're head in and keep your mouth shut when appropriate. Nothing like a bit of self discipline like they teach you.
As a Reservist, I'd definatly agree with that. If you're really keen you could try to sign up as a combat medic, but those spots are highly compeditive - I've heard ot better to transfer role once you're in the Army.
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