Future paramedics face their toughest test yet

Prospective paramedics from Flinders University will be pushed to their physical and mental limits as they perform some of the toughest rescues imaginable this week.

The second and third year Bachelor of Paramedic Science students will converge on Piccadilly’s Woodhouse Activity Centre today and Thursday for the Flinders Paramedic Challenge – an annual tradition for soon-to-be paramedic graduates.

The event will test the students’ teamwork, communication, leadership and problem-solving skills through a series of gruelling challenges in unpredictable situations, with past activities involving snake bites, car crashes, electrocutions, child births and asthma attacks.

About 200 second and third year students will take part in the challenge across the two days, with third year students being assessed on their performance and second year students gaining valuable insights into what to expect in their final year of study.

Flinders lecturer in paramedics James Thompson said the event symbolised a milestone in the students’ education and provided them with a rare opportunity to test the skills and knowledge they had acquired throughout the degree.

“The tasks are essentially emergency scenarios so they could be rescuing patients from difficult spots, performing resuscitations in confined spaces or stabilising critical patients against the elements – we throw everything at them,” Mr Thompson, based in Flinders Clinical Effectiveness, said.

“Every skill and piece of knowledge the students have learnt during the degree are put to the test in complex conundrums, and while it’s a fun day for everyone this is a compulsory part of the course so it still counts towards their grades,” he said.

“It’s an innovative way of teaching which breaks the conventional classroom environment.”

Mr Thompson, who is topic coordinator in the Paramedic Unit, said the University’s paramedics course was the most comprehensive and rigorously-assessed degree in the country.

“Rather than traditional forms of education in Australia that test students at exam time, we’ve turned it around so students are assessed every day in every activity they perform.

“This provides students with job-readiness in what is a highly-competitive job market.”

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