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The inaugural graduation ceremony for Foundation Degree Level Paramedics has been hosted at the Jordanstown campus of Ulster University. The University conferred awards on thirty nine Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Paramedics on Thursday 5 December 2019.

The ceremony marks the latest stage in the evolution of paramedic training with the introduction of a third level education model which places an emphasis on continuous education to support best, evidence based, practice.

The Foundation Degree in Science in Paramedic Practice has been developed by Ulster University, delivered by Northern Ireland Ambulance Service faculty team with funding provided by Department of Health.

Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and External Affairs) commented:

“Graduation is a time to reflect and celebrate the hard work and dedication of our students and in doing so I’m incredibly proud of the 39 paramedics graduating today with the skills and knowledge they will use as first responders to save lives. The partnership approach to the programme development and provision between NIAS, DoH and Ulster University will have a dedicated impact on our heath service and the provision of patient care.”

Chief Nursing Officer, Professor Charlotte McArdle said:

“I want to commend the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and Ulster University for their dedication and commitment in developing and delivering the Foundation Degree in Science in Paramedic Practice, the success of which is evidenced in the 39 paramedics graduating today. Paramedics play a key role in the wider transformation agenda and are an integral part of multi-disciplinary healthcare teams in hospital and community settings, as well as alongside multi-agency emergency first response teams such as Fire and rescue, the police and coast guards.  As newly qualified paramedics, today’s graduates will have learnt many of the skills and competencies to fulfil this role, and I would like to warmly congratulate them on their achievements and wish them every success in their careers.”

NIAS Chief Executive, Michael Bloomfield, congratulated and welcomed the graduates to their new roles within the Service, saying:

“I am immensely honoured and proud to to share with you all in your success at having completed the Foundation Degree in Science in Paramedic Practice. You are the first cohort to benefit from this course which has been developed in partnership with Ulster University and funded by the Department of Health. This collaboration and investment will bear fruit in the enhanced levels of clinical care that you will bring to those patients who are in daily need of your skills. The staffing pressures faced by NIAS have been well documented and I am delighted to welcome you back, from your year-long course of study, to operational duties. This is particularly important as we move into winter and all its associated challenges.I want to congratulate you all and thank you for the commitment that motivated you to undertake this course. Your efforts have been rewarded with the conferment you have each received.I also want to take this opportunity to express my thanks to our colleagues at the Ulster University and Department of Health, along with the NIAS Training Team and everyone else who has contributed to the success of this course. The individual success of each student is, in no small part, due to your efforts.”