SINGAPORE: Diploma holders will soon be able to apply for a new one-year conversion diploma to be qualified paramedics, before taking part in on-the-job training involving real-time civilian ambulance operations and military medical care.
This integrated programme, scheduled to begin in October, is the product of a collaboration between the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP).
On Tuesday (May 18), the parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding on enhancing paramedic professional standards, by continuing to develop paramedic training at the tertiary level.
The parties said in a fact sheet on Tuesday that the integrated programme will help produce future-ready paramedics.
“With an ageing population, paramedics face the challenge of dealing with increased cases, and having to diagnose and prioritise treatment for persons suffering from multiple diseases,” they said.
“The rigorous and robust training during on-the-job training programme, covering both peace-time and war-time casualty management, is vital for ensuring a steady stream of holistically developed paramedics that are future-ready.”
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Members of the public who graduate from the integrated programme can seek career opportunities with the SAF as SAF military medical experts under the Military Domain Expert Scheme, or with the SCDF as paramedics.
Graduates can also work with private ambulance operators or as in-house paramedics in other high-risk industries, the parties said in a news release on Tuesday.
“Graduates from the Dip PRM will be equipped with the skills and qualifications which prepare them for management-level positions and continued higher paramedical learning,” they said.
“This is essential for the growth of the paramedic field and the deepening of academic research in paramedicine, which will accelerate Singapore’s efforts to achieve a world-class emergency care system.”
The full-time Diploma (Conversion) in Paramedic Science (Dip PRM) is open to SAF and SCDF trainee paramedics, as well as members of the public who have at least a diploma qualification.
“With an integrated curriculum, the Dip PRM provides graduates with strong theoretical foundations and real-world experience essential for frontline paramedics dealing with increasingly complex pre-hospital health emergencies that require diagnosis and prioritisation of treatment for patients,” the parties said.
The diploma will take place across four terms, with each term comprising a classroom phase and an ambulance attachment with the SCDF. Classroom lessons include theoretical and simulation-based training.
While most lessons will be held at the NYP campus, some will also take place at the simulation labs at the SAF’s Medical Simulation Training Centre and SCDF’s National Emergency Medical Services Training Centre.
The lessons will be led by NYP faculty supported by trainers from the SAF and SCDF who are qualified paramedical practitioners.
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“The work-learn design of the Dip PRM curriculum, through the integration of textbook learning with clinical placements, streamlines the curriculum and optimises learning outcomes,” the parties said.
“Compared to the previous model of multiple course attendance across different time periods, this consolidated approach offers higher learning and training efficacy.”
Those who graduate from the diploma will have “acquired clinical judgement capabilities” and can then apply for on-the-job training.
Graduates will spend 1,200 hours doing SCDF-led on-the-job training, which the parties called an “opportunity” to gain hands-on work experience and improve their employability.
Participants will work in real-time ambulance operations under the supervision of senior paramedics, and undergo SAF-conducted tactical training on paramedic care and casualty management during war-time and major civil emergency scenarios.
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SAF chief army medical officer Colonel (Dr) Lee Wei Ting said the integrated programme improves the professionalism and career progression of SAF paramedics.
“This new training programme also serves to strengthen the SAF’s emergency medical support system and training safety,” he said.
SCDF director of emergency medical services department Assistant Commissioner Yong Meng Wah said the programme will raise the overall standards of SCDF paramedics.
“This collaboration has allowed us to bring our national pre-hospital emergency care to a level that meets or even surpasses most international standards for quality patient care,” he added.
Those interested in joining the programme can contact the SAF Army Recruitment Centre, SCDF Career Office or visit the NYP diploma website.