The Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic) is run in conjunction with Wellington Free Ambulance and approved by the Council of Ambulance Authorities and Paramedics Australasia for entry to paramedic practice in New Zealand and Australia. It is designed to prepare students for practice as contemporary ambulance paramedics.
Paramedics provide acute health care and emergency and urgent medical services to the community through a specialised body of professional knowledge, delivering care in variable environments. Through the use of clinical assessment, advanced medical procedures and treatment, they stabilise patients in clinically challenging environments, refer to primary and secondary care and provide on-going emergency medical care during transport.
The programme is full-time and involves considerable study. Serious thought should be given before a student undertakes paid employment that will make it difficult to maintain sufficient study time, or to attend clinical experience. It is suggested that no more than ten hours per week is worked. Attendance at all classes, both theory and clinical, is a requirement for successful completion of the programme.
Due to the hours of work and location of placements, students require private transport to attend clinical experiences. Access to a personal computer after hours is essential.
A distance version of this programme is offered for working or volunteering paramedics. The Flexible Learning Stream (FLS) of the Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic) is designed for students with an existing National Certificate or National Diploma in Ambulance Practice (Level 5) or with a practising level of EMT or paramedic.
Year One introduces new students to human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and paramedic practice. Utilising context based learning, students explore the structure and function of the ambulance industry, the roles and responsibilities of the paramedic, legal and ethical issues, including the implications of te Tiriti o Waitangi on paramedic practice, and the assessment and treatment of medical and trauma patients to a beginning practitioner level.
Time spent on campus is divided between classroom theory and practical sessions in our clinical labs, where hands-on skills are practiced and developed before implementation on clinical placements.
Students attend a variety of clinical placements, including emergency ambulance, non-emergency ambulance, ambulance communications centre and rest homes. During these placements, students are able to apply and develop the knowledge and skills from the classroom whilst under direct supervision.
This year consolidates and builds on Year One with more in-depth exploration of anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and more invasive paramedic practice. The student transitions from task focused technical skills to critical thinking in relation to patient care, and continue to develop skills in academic scholarship and research, and mentoring and supervision.
Students spend time in the classroom, in the clinical labs, and attend clinical placements including emergency ambulance, hospital emergency department, hospital operating theatre, delivery suite, mental health, and front-line police.
The structure of Year Three is significantly different to the previous years. All papers in this year are delivered online, with some block weeks spent on campus. Whilst the papers are a mix of clinical and non-clinical papers, there is a greater focus on clinical reasoning, teamwork and leadership, along with in depth exploration of legal, ethical and sociological issues in relation to paramedic practice. The amount of time spent on clinical placements is increased in Year Three, and is almost exclusively based in an emergency ambulance environment.
Graduates of the Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic) can apply for postgraduate study at Whitireia and elsewhere.
Whitireia degree academic entry requirements, or equivalent academic/work experience; New Zealand Driver License, evidence of suitability based on safety check, medical report, referee reports, interview
Proven equivalence of entry requirements plus IELTS 6.5 in each band
Documents for students who have begun the enrolment process can be found on the School of Health Moodle page.