A New Year begins and with it comes the Irish College of Paramedic’s annual summary of activities. Yet another successful year, and at the summit of all our achievements this year must be the recent success of one of our long-time members, Christopher O’ Connor (Chris, right). December 15th 2017 will be a memorable day for Chris, as this was the day he successfully defended his thesis for a Doctorate in Education (EdD) degree with Dublin City University (DCU).
This is an outstanding achievement and Chris now becomes only the second registered pre-hospital practitioner in Ireland with a doctoral degree. Dr. O’Connor’s Thesis was ‘An Evaluation of Novel Methodologies to support Reflective Practice among Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Practitioners’.
Collaboration with the Irish College of Paramedics:
Chris required access to practitioners and contacted ICoP seeking permission to contact members. As part of ICoP’s objective to support research by practitioners, the Executive were delighted to be able to facilitate such a request.
An action research model consisting of three cycles was employed. Data was collected via an online survey questionnaire, and by conducting a series of semi-structured interviews with various stake-holders. These included all three clinical levels of pre-hospital emergency care practitioners and educators from emergency service providers, private ambulance services, and voluntary organisations.
Finally, Chris wishes to express his gratitude to the ICoP Executive and all those practitioners who contributed to his research. The ICoP wish to congratulate Chris on this significant personal achievement and exceptional contribution to the increasing educational profile of paramedicine, not just in Ireland, but internationally. Well done Chris! A great positive note to start the New Year. Chris has agreed to present his research to the Irish College of Paramedics membership in 2018. This is one I will be attending.
Advancing our education
Chris' achievement is another massive step for our profession, in parallel with members who are continuing their paramedicine (BSc) studies with the University of Limerick (UL) and University College Cork (UCC).
The profession of paramedicine continues to make strides in Ireland. The University of Limerick, University College Cork and University College Dublin are continuing to provide our profession with programmes beyond certificate and Diploma programmes. Paramedicine is developing as a recognised profession in Ireland supported by these educational programmes. The drive towards continued education adds significantly to our international professional profile and 2018/2019 promises to increase this momentum, with greater access to such programmes for all registrants and those seeking to enter the profession.
ICoP members have been involved in examination and accreditation boards for both the University of Limerick and University College Cork. We wish to thank those members who have contributed, voluntarily and without pay, to our developing profession by assuming these roles, and to both the University of Limerick, and University College Cork, for seeking nominations to these significant positions.
Last year we were invited to present at conferences in Canada, the United States, Malaysia, Jordan, and Turkey. Our contribution to these international conferences propels Irish paramedicine onto the international world stage, and members are not paid or financially supported by ICoP to present at such conferences – we do it voluntarily, but on behalf of ICoP.
Our Vice-President, Alan Batt, presented multiple sessions at the Paramedicine across Canada Exhibition in Quebec (PACE). Alan was also invited to speak at the TOPCOM conference in Malaysia, whilst I presented research on Continued Professional Competence for Irish Pre-Hospital Practitioners at the EMS World Expo in Las Vegas, at the invitation of the UCLA Center for Pre-Hospital Care Research Forum. I was invited to submit an article to ‘Canadian Paramedicine’ on paramedic regulation which was subsequently published. We also had a poster at the EMS Gathering in Kinsale, Cork.
Requests for ICoP members to present at international conferences continue, and we hope to be able to accept such requests in 2018. It is a fantastic opportunity to network with international professional colleagues and to share how our profession has developed, and continues to develop, in Ireland.
The Irish College of Paramedics signed an agreement with the Turkish Paramedic Association in August, and we are currently working on a similar agreement with the Australian and New Zealand College of Paramedicine (ANZCP). We are hopeful this will happen in the first quarter of 2018. We intend to continue to engage with international paramedic associations, as it is an excellent conduit for mutual collaboration.
We wish to thank the Chair, Director, Executive and members of the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council for Council’s request seeking nominations for PHECC Committees. ICoP now has one member on the Medical Advisory Committee, and one on the Education and Standards Committee. This is the second Council term in which we have been asked to nominate members to these expert groups, and we very much appreciate the invitation. We shall continue to contribute to these committees in a positive and professional manner.
Irish Journal of Paramedicine
2017 was yet another successful year for the IJP, with two issues published. The continued commitment of our Vice-President, Alan Batt, to this significant initiative is outstanding. The IJP contributes to the increasing profile of our profession, and allows practitioners to submit for publication in a peer-reviewed paramedic journal, the only such journal in Ireland. We wish continued success to Alan and the editorial team at the IJP.
Continuous Professional Competence – Workshop
ICoP, with the support of members, delivered yet another successful CPC workshop for our members on 1st July in the Shearwater Hotel, Ballinasloe. Again, we were inundated with applicants for the day, and had to restrict numbers. Feedback from the day showed that members were very satisfied with all presentations, they learned from the experience, and have asked for more.
Consequently, we intend to plan for more of these events in 2018. In addition, the Executive has been asked to consider planning an international conference this year. We would all welcome such a conference specifically for paramedicine, and we are currently scoping out the possibility and estimating costs. However, significant sponsorship is required to host such an event and so, in tandem, we are seeking such support. We have, through our membership, a considerable number of international paramedics and associated professionals keen to visit Ireland and present at our conference. We will keep you informed.
CPC Course Accreditation
The ICoP has successfully implemented an accreditation process for organisations seeking to accredit short, relevant CPC educational programmes. This provides participants on such programmes with the assurance that the course meets the high standard for course approval, and that such ICoP accredited courses are independently reviewed and quality assured by educators, practitioners and facilitators in pre-hospital care. Further information is available by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Media and ICoP Representation:
Last year we were also invited to provide commentary and engage in research by programmes being developed for TV3. In addition, ICoP member Ms. Ann Mc Dermott participated in “What are you looking for?” on RTE 1 in September. This is a programme hosted by Philip Boucher-Hayes which discussed Irish work, gender pay gaps and the ‘gig economy’. Thank you Ann for volunteering on behalf of ICoP, and for your positive contribution to the programme.
We are currently engaging with TV3 with the potential for further collaboration on upcoming programmes in 2018, and their support for the Irish Journal of Paramedicine. Increasingly TV channels, radio stations and media generally are now contacting ICoP for comment or representation. It is great to see the increasing awareness of our professional representative (non-Union) association.
Finally, the ICoP has endorsed a new schools Initiative to be delivered nationally in 2018, describing to children what to do in an emergency, and how to access the emergency services, as well as other educational activities. We will keep you posted on this.
What else in 2018?
We would like to encourage more peer-reviewed publications from the Irish paramedic profession. We know there is research by practitioners already completed, some in draft form, and some in development. ICoP would like to raise the profile of Irish pre-hospital research, authored by Irish pre-hospital practitioners. We submitted a proposal to PHECC in June of 2017 seeking support to provide a funding stream to ICoP to administer a suite of research awards for pre-hospital practitioners in Ireland (ICoP and non-ICoP members), with the aim of increasing research literacy, encouraging new researchers, and thus building research capacity within the profession in Ireland. In our estimation such a scheme would promote, strengthen and further develop practitioner-led research in this Country. We continue to engage with the Director of PHECC on this significant proposal.
We would like to see more Irish practitioners published, and presenting at international conferences, demonstrating to the international community of paramedicine just how far we have come as a profession. We have national regulation with our regulator (Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council), registration, increasing number of third level programmes, and registrants now achieving or aspiring to Level 10 Doctoral programmes. We have a lot to be proud of!
I would like to thank the ICoP Executive for their continued commitment, and their outstanding contribution to the work of ICoP. I wish to mention in particular our Vice- President for his magnificent work on the IJP, on top of his new educational pursuits – a PhD! I wish Alan all the very best in his studies. He is an excellent international ambassador for Irish paramedicine!
I wish to thank you, the members of the Irish College of Paramedics, for your continued support. If you decide to be an active member or member, it is significant either way. We continue to build our rapport with international colleagues and demonstrate through participation how we have developed as a profession. We need your continued support through membership to show we are one united body representing our profession, irrespective of grade, rank or organisational affiliation. We continue to reserve our membership fee at only €10 per year, and this only allows us to pay fees for accounts, registration and our website. We do not pay our Executive or members, or pay costs for attending conferences etc.
I would ask that you continue to support ICoP by submitting your fees and encouraging more practitioners to join the ICoP. We shall continue to promote our great profession both nationally and internationally, and with your support we will place Irish paramedicine on the international platform amongst the best in pre-hospital care.
Thank you all very much and have a healthy and safe 2018.
Dr. Shane Knox
PhD, MSc, HDipEMT (AP), MCPara
President, Irish College of Paramedics