Making Britain Work
Making Britain Work

First cohort of lifesavers from University of Sunderland

10 May 2019

A new generation of lifesavers has entered the workforce after the first cohort of paramedics graduated from the University of Sunderland, ready to help address the national shortage.

The newly qualified paramedics were the first to have access to the University’s Living Lab - with its interactive learning facilities and simulation equipment, when they started their course in 20016.

The students were employed by North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), allowing them to balance studying with working their operational shifts - applying what they learned at University into real, lifesaving situations. And the graduating cohort say they could not have asked for a better two years to prepare them for their new roles.

Denise Bridge, spent 10 years with the NEAS, first as an emergency care assistant, then as a technician, and says she’s always had the confidence that a paramedic clinical lead was there to act as her “blanket of support”.

Now, after two years of hard work, she’s part of the first cohort to qualify with a University of Sunderland’s Paramedic Practice HE Diploma, and she will now be the one acting as the “blanket” for others when she prepares to take the lead on board the ambulance.

She said: “The course has been an incredible personal challenge, balancing a full-time job with my studies, and I’m relieved I’ve got through it. When I passed I walked around in a daze thinking thinking ‘I have done it’, there were so many emotions that I had passed. This is not the type of career you can do unless you love it.”

Victoria Duffy is the Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer in Clinical Skills in the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing.

She said: “We are delighted to see our inaugural cohort graduate and register as paramedics.

“As a group they have worked extremely hard and achieved huge successes, both personal and professional and as a programme team it has been a pleasure and a privilege to watch them grow and develop into autonomous practitioners.

“They are a credit to the Ambulance Service and have set a fantastic precedent for Paramedicine at the University of Sunderland. I am proud to lead this programme and immensely proud of our graduating cohort.”

NEAS worked with the University to develop the programme through the Corporate and Professional Education team who are responsible for bringing together employers with Faculty expertise to develop bespoke programmes.

Caroline Thurlbeck, Director of Strategy, Workforce and Transformation at NEAS, said: “Training to become a paramedic is intense and challenging but it is also one of the most rewarding opportunities available. Our employees are able to make a real difference, day in day out, to our patients across the North East.

“On behalf of the NEAS, I would like to congratulate our first cohort and look forward to watching their careers continue to flourish within our service.”