PEI

UPEI offering new program for paramedics

A new degree program will be offered this fall at UPEI for Islanders thinking about a career as a paramedic, or for those already working in the industry and want to explore other opportunities.

Paramedics can apply diploma toward two-year Bachelor of Science degree

The Bachelor of Science program puts UPEI on the cutting edge of where the paramedicine profession appears to be heading. (Pat Martel/CBC)

A new degree program will be offered this fall at UPEI for Islanders thinking about a career as a paramedic, or for those already working in the industry and want to explore other opportunities.

Dr. Trevor Jain, an ER doctor who is helping to get the new Bachelor of Science in Paramedicine off the ground, says the program is the first of its kind in Canada.

Anyone with a diploma in paramedicine from Holland College — or the equivalent — with a 70 per cent average can apply to the two-year program at UPEI. They must take 20 credits, 15 mandatory and five electives.

"Within four years you have your ticket to be a paramedic but you also have a Bachelor of Science degree," Jain said on Mainstreet P.E.I.

Dr. Trevor Jains says "gone are the days when you would refer to a paramedic as an ambulance driver." (Pat Martel/CBC)

Working out the 'kinks'

UPEI has one 400-level paramedicine course underway now "to work out the kinks," Jain said, but the first major intake will be next fall when they accept 25 students to the program.

Gone are the days when you would refer to a paramedic as an ambulance driver.- Dr. Trevor Jain

"Now, with the diploma program, they learn some physiology, they learn extrication, they learn how to assess a patient, scene size up," Jain said.

"The whole idea of providing the Bachelor of Science program is to provide more depth, more academic knowledge, to what they already bring to the table."

Jain said the program is the first in Canada tailored to paramedicine, and puts UPEI on the cutting edge of where the paramedicine profession appears to be heading.

Paramedic association on board

On its website, the Paramedic Association of Canada says it "supports the development and implementation of degree programs as a reflection of the increasing complexity of paramedic practise."

"Gone are the days when you would refer to a paramedic as an ambulance driver," Jain said.

"They are highly trained professionals, they are the first part of the 911 emergency encounter. For me, if I'm calling 911, that person who comes to my house, comes to the car accident, you want them with as much knowledge as possible with as much training as possible."

With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.