College brings paramedic program to Belleville
After 14 years on the job, Vanessa Brooker still gets excited to turn on the lights and siren.
“When you’re in an ambulance and you get the call, the lights and siren put you into action,” said Brooker.
As the placement co-ordinator of Loyalist College’s in-class and alternate delivery Paramedic programs, Brooker has a solid grasp on the career pathways graduates can pursue.
“When we think about paramedics, we often associate their work with hospitals and ambulances,” she said. “It’s much more than that.”
Graduates of the program are eligible to be primary care paramedics in Ontario. With additional study, they can become advanced care paramedics and expand their proficiency into critical care. At the primary care level, graduates can work on helicopters, fixed-wing aircrafts, oil rigs, cruise ships, in paramedicine in northern communities and abroad.
“There are not-for-profit organizations providing rapid response aid in life-threatening situations following a disaster or a crisis,” she said. “This line of work has a global impact. It can take you places and the work experience is invaluable.”
Loyalist offers the Paramedic program in two different formats. In Bancroft, the program is five semesters in length and is geared toward mature learners who have various commitments and are looking to attend class on the weekend and study at home.
In Belleville, the Paramedic program in-class offering is new to the college and takes two years (four semesters) to complete. It’s well suited for recent high school graduates and those who are interested in studying on campus.
“Bancroft’s format is ideal for people with established careers or those who are single parents,” said Brooker. “Being a paramedic is something they’ve always wanted to do. The flexibility of this program gives them the structure to learn while they work.”
Loyalist’s human patient simulators (HPS) provide students with hands-on learning.
“It’s as real as you can get,” she said. “We have a birthing HPS and medium to high fidelity HPS which simulate advanced life support. They have their own pulses, blood pressures, respirations and adventitious lung sounds. The virtual learning modules provide realworld scenarios. The program also has its own ambulance.”
Jeff Robbins is a graduate of Loyalist’s Paramedic program and started teaching in the program in 2008. As an Advanced Care Paramedic with Hastings-Quinte Paramedic Services and a volunteer captain for Belleville Fire, he is well versed in emergency services in the Quinte region.
“What’s great about the professors in this program is that we’re still working medics,” said Robbins. “The call we took on Tuesday is relevant to the material we’re teaching. We bring that real-world experience into the classroom every day.”
To learn more about Loyalist College’s Paramedic programs, please visit loyalistcollege.com.
Brooke Bradley, Loyalist College Paramedic student, stands with one of the college’s training vehicles. The Paramedic programs at Loyalist enable graduates to work in a variety of settings.