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Program Curriculum

University of Washington Bachelors Degree in Paramedicine at Seattle Medic One

 

Introduction

Emergency Medical Services (EMS), as a profession, is now barely a generation old. In 1996 the National Highway Traffic Administration’s (NHTSA) Emergency Medical Services Agenda for the Future noted a desire to create a comprehensive plan for EMS education that will result in enhanced consistency in educational quality and greater entry-level student competency. This vision has moved the profession forward to develop a new National Education Standard structured on a competency based educational model.

This vision for the future includes a higher standard of core competencies for the three levels of EMS training, i.e. basic, intermediate and advanced/paramedic. There has been a steady movement over the last 10 years to increase the depth of knowledge and hourly time commitment making EMS training more comprehensive. The most recent recommendation is to integrate the highest level of training (paramedic) with institutions of higher education to gain college credit creating pathways that lead to a degree. 

The trend in recent years in many health care professions, including Paramedicine, has been toward offering college credit and attaining degree pathways for students to complete four-year degrees. The University of Washington/ Harborview Medical Center (UW/HMC) Paramedic Training program has noted in recent years that an increasing number of students are entering the program with college credits that would allow them to receive a Bachelor’s degree if the Paramedic Program were to offer credits. In the last site visit by CoAEMSP, as part of the accreditation process, it was suggested that the academic work achieved by our students was worthy of degree status.

While we currently do not offer a Bachelor of Paramedicine degree, much of the ground work has been laid. We are hopeful a four-year degree program will be in place within the next several years. Until then, we are a "Certificate Program" without any University of Washington credit. In other words, a student would not be identified within the University system at all. Regardless, the curriculum remains unchanged.

Currently we do have an Articulation Agreement with the University of Pittsburgh. By filing the Letter of Intent, this agreement allows a graduate of this program to become eligible to receive 39 credits that can be applied to the University of Pittsburgh in the Emergency Medicine (EM) Program within the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS).

Curriculum

The Paramedic Training Program is equivalent to 5 UW quarters, however, students will be spending significantly more time than is normally seen in a traditional undergraduate program. Clinically based training programs, such as ours, as well as the Physician Assistant Program at the University of Washington, require a higher number of hours for students to become competent in clinical hands-on skills. The result is more hours per credit than would normally be seen in a traditional undergraduate program.

The Paramedic program is a competency based program meaning that each of the cognitive, affective and psychomotor learning domain building blocks must be mastered before allowing the student to advance to the next level. Because pre-hospital paramedicine ultimately deals with life and death, it is imperative that each student be trained to the highest of standards.

A. Program Objective

The objective of UW/HMC/PMT program is to train non-physicians in the principles of evaluation and resuscitation of the critically ill or injured patient. The educational goals of the paramedic student will be to attain advanced knowledge and experience in the evaluation of acute medical emergencies and the psychomotor skills necessary to accomplish this task.

B. Admissions Requirements

When the degree program is up and running, candidates for the Bachelor of Paramedicine degree will normally be admitted at the junior year level and must pursue a five-quarter sequence of prescribed studies in paramedic training. Because the traditional student will come from local Fire Departments in Western Washington, many of the applicants will have completed their pre-professional academic coursework at college and universities other than the University of Washington.

To be eligible for the degree, students must be accepted for admittance by the UW/HMC Paramedic Training Program and must meet regular UW admission requirements required of all UW transfer students and be accepted as a matriculated, degree-seeking student. Students who do not meet the UW transfer admissions criteria may be encouraged to satisfy the admissions requirements before starting the paramedic program or admitted as non-matriculated students. These non-matriculated students will complete the training program and receive the current UW School of Medicine Paramedic certificate. Until then, we will continue to offer a certificate program.

Individual Program Requirements:

Application:

Paramedic students are pre-screened by their regional sponsoring (employing) Fire Department or Provider Group. Prescreening consists of a written examination, oral interview, practical assessment and psychological evaluation. Candidates will then, in conjunction with their sponsoring agency, submit an application and resume to the Paramedic Training Program for review culminating in an interview with the Program Director and or the Assistant Program Director.

Cover Letter:

Each student must have a brief cover letter submitted by their employer to Paramedic Training recommending admission into the program and to verify ALS employment. The student must have a guaranteed full time Mobile Intensive Care Paramedic (MICP) position with a regional provider group to return to once this training program is completed. The information obtained will be used by the Paramedic Program to assess the candidate’s admission qualifications.

Prerequisites:

  • Must be Emergency Medical Technician-Basic trained.
  • A minimum of three years of field experience is required, however this requirement may be waived with permission from the Medical Director.
  • Must have a high school diploma.
  • Must have completed college freshman level courses or the equivalent in: English Composition: minimum of 5 credits Intermediate Algebra (example: Math 098, Math 104 or 107) 
  • A 5 credit Science Course such as Human Anatomy and Physiology, Biology, Microbiology or Chemistry.

Official college transcripts must be submitted reflecting all college level courses taken from accredited institutions. These courses will be reviewed by Paramedic Program faculty.

Records:

Students must submit copies of the following records: 

  • A current Washington State EMT card that is valid through course completion. 
  • A valid Washington State driver's license.
  • Verification of health insurance.
  • Current immunizations. 
  • A criminal background check.

Graduation Requirements: Bachelor of Paramedicine

Eligibility for the Paramedicine Degree is contingent on admission to the Paramedic Program as well as admission to the University of Washington as a matriculated, degree seeking student. All candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Paramedicine must meet the general university requirements for a Bachelors degree as established in the UW General Catalog. Bachelor degrees require at least 180 college level credits.

General Education:

1.  A minimum of 40 credits in general education courses distributed across the three disciplines of Visual, Literary and Performing Arts (VLPA); Individuals & Societies (IS); and Natural World (NW). A minimum of 10 credits in each area and no more than 15 credits in any one area may count toward the distribution requirement.

2.  Courses that qualify for the general education requirement are to be taken from the current University Distribution List.

3.  All the courses listed on the following pages will be required for the major in Paramedicine. (Note that these courses cannot also be counted as part of the general education requirements.)

English Composition:

Candidates for the degree must complete one 5-credit composition course.

Writing Proficiency:

Candidates for the degree must complete an additional 7 credits of English composition or other writing courses. W - prefix courses would satisfy this requirement.

Quantitative and Symbolic Reasons (QSR) Proficiency:

Candidates for the degree must complete a course of no fewer than 4 to 5 credits that will satisfy the UW QSR requirement for graduation in which a substantial part of the work involves quantitative and/or symbolic reasoning. Courses satisfying the QSR and writing proficiency requirements may simultaneously be applied toward the general education requirements as long as the courses appear on the QSR list in the UW Admissions web pages under General Education Requirements.

Foreign Language:

Two years of high school foreign language are required for admission as a matriculated student at the University of Washington. No other foreign language will be required for the Bachelor of Paramedicine degree.

 

C. Bachelors Degree vs. Certification

The University of Washington School of Medicine was the only Paramedic Training Program sanctioned (in 1973) by Washington State Law RCW 18.71.200 to provide Washington State Certification for Paramedics. Since then, we have moved certification to the State. Currently, the UW/HMC/PMT awards certification of successful completion of the Paramedic program, and facilitates Washington State credentialing.

The goal of the paramedic-training program will be to offer the 88 program credits toward a Bachelor of Paramedicine degree in addition to certification for those students who meet UW entrance and degree requirements and who are accepted for admission to the UW as a matriculated, degree seeking student. The concurrent goal will be to increase the proportion of eligible students seeking degree status in future years.

Although we do not anticipate requiring the degree as a condition to award paramedic certification, the future goal of the paramedic program will be 100% degree attainment for its students.

From the provider group's perspective, there will be little change in the way a paramedic candidate is selected. Paramedic Training, however, will need to know the names of the candidates by February 15 of each year. As well, we will need to know whether the student will be choosing the degree or certificate path. Regardless of the pathway chosen, program entrance requirements are unchanged. 

 

D. Courses

The paramedic curriculum takes place in a fast-paced and intense competency based learning environment. In addition to the classroom lecture, labs, and clinical rotations, students are required to participate in field practicums on Medic One vehicles. This provides extensive patient contact under direct supervision of fire department paramedics and allows for immediate feedback. These field practicums are an unusually large time commitment in addition to the normal classroom studies.

Quarters 1 & 2 Schedule

Quarter 1

Summer Quarter

Contact Hours

 Credit Hours

MEDEX 451

Anatomy & Physiology

           60

           6

 

Total

           60

           6

 

Quarter 2

Autumn Quarter

Contact Hours

  Credit Hours

MEDEX 401

Introduction to Paramedicine

          167

           8

MEDEX 402

Airway Management

           66

           3

MEDEX 403

Patient Assessment

           67

           4

MEDEX 414

Paramedic Clinical Practicum I

           73

           3

MEDEX 415

Paramedic Field Practicum I

           240

           6

 

Total

           613

           24

 

Quarters 1 & 2 Terminal Objectives

At the completion of these courses, the paramedic student will be able to:

• Define his or her roles and responsibilities within an EMS system, and how these roles and responsibilities differ from other levels of providers.

• Explain and value the importance of personal wellness in EMS and serve as a healthy role model for peers.

• Define the role that ethics plays in decision making in the out of hospital environment.

• Apply the general concepts of pathophysiology for assessment and management of emergency patients.

• Describe the legal issues that impact decisions made in the out of hospital environment.

• Integrate pathophysiological principles of pharmacology and the assessment findings to formulate a field impression and implement a pharmacologic management plan.

• Safely and precisely access the venous circulation an administer medications.

• Integrate the principles of therapeutic communication to effectively communicate with any patient while providing care.

• Establish and/or maintain a patent airway, oxygenate, and ventilate a patient.

• Use the appropriate techniques to obtain a medical history from a patient.

• Explain the pathophysiological significance of physical exam findings.

• Integrate the principles of history taking and techniques of physical exam to perform a patient assessment.

• Apply a process of clinical decision making to use the assessment findings to help form a field impression.

• Follow an accepted format for dissemination of patient information in verbal form.

• Effectively document the essential elements of patient assessment, care, and transport

 

Quarters 3 & 4 Schedule

 

Quarter 3

Winter Quarter

Contact Hours

Credit Hours

MEDEX 404

Medical Emergencies I

         73

          5

MEDEX 405

Trauma Emergencies

         63

          5

MEDEX 424

Paramedic Clinical Practicum II

         72

          3

MEDEX 425

Paramedic Field Practicum II

         350

          7

 

Total

         558

          20

 

Quarter 4

Spring Quarter

Contact Hours

Credit Hours

MEDEX 406

Medical Emergencies II

          55

          3

MEDEX 407

Special Considerations for Paramedicine

          70

          4

MEDEX 434

Paramedic Clinical Practicum III

          92

          4

MEDEX 435

Paramedic Field Practicum III

          400

          8

 

Total

          617

          19

 

Quarters 3 & 4 Terminal Objectives

At the completion of these courses, the paramedic student will be able to demonstrate the knowledge and principles associated with the acute management of medical or traumatic emergencies including:

• Cardiac arrest

• Shock and hemorrhage

• Soft tissue injuries and burns

• Spinal and thoracic injury

• Musculoskeletal injury

• Endocrine emergencies

• Allergic or anaphylactic reactions

Gastroenterological emergencies and abdominal trauma

• Renal or urologic emergencies

• Environmental and behavioral emergencies

• Infectious and communicable diseases

• Respiratory emergencies

• Cardiovascular emergencies

• Gynecological, Neonatal, and Pediatric emergencies.

• Childbirth and childbirth emergencies

• Emergencies relating to abuse or assault.

• Diverse patients and those who face physical, mental, social, and financial challenges.

• Acute deterioration of the chronic care patient.

• Patients with suspected head injury.

• Patients with neurologic emergencies

 

Quarter 5 Schedule

 

   Quarter 5

 Summer Quarter

 Contact Hours

 Credit Hours

   MEDEX 408

 Advanced Certifications

         121

           5

   MEDEX 444

Paramedic Clinical Practicum IV

         51

           3

   MEDEX 445

Paramedic Field Practicum IV

         480

           11

 

Total

         652

           19

 

Quarter 5 Terminal Objectives

At the completion of these courses, the paramedic student will also be able to demonstrate the professional attributes and skills required to:

• Describe and demonstrate key concepts, cognitive domains and psychomotor skill sets required to care for the critically ill and injured neonate or pediatric patient.

• Describe and demonstrate key concepts, cognitive domains and psychomotor skill sets required to perform standard of care resuscitation of the adult patient with acute coronary syndrome, stroke or cardiac arrest.

• Describe and demonstrate key concepts, cognitive domains and psychomotor skill sets required to perform standard of care resuscitation of the adult trauma patient.

• Integrate the principles of the Incident Command System (ICS) and Multiple Casualty Incident (MCI) management techniques in order to function effectively and safely in fire based EMS systems.

• Integrate the principles of rescue awareness and operations to safely rescue patients.

• Evaluate hazardous material emergencies, call for appropriate resources, and work in the cold zone.

• Describe awareness of the human hazard of crime and violence and the safe operation at crime scenes and other emergencies.

 

Grading Policy

The testing and evaluation process in the training program has a minimum passing requirement of 80%. The courses for the Paramedicine Degree, 401 through 407, are letter graded. The grading structure for each course is described in the individual syllabi. Students must obtain a minimum score of 80% on a 4.0 scale to complete any of these courses successfully. The clinical practicum courses are graded pass/fail. When learning and mastering hands-on skills, for example intubation, the student must perform to an accepted standard. If not, those skills are repeated until mastery occurs.

In the typical lecture style classes, student learning outcomes are evaluated by weekly quizzes comprising 90% of the course grade while homework makes up the other 10%. These percentages vary slightly depending on the specific course. Students must pass all quizzes. Minimum passing score on quizzes is 80%. Failure to meet minimum passing scores on each quiz results in remediation and a retake with a minimum passing score of 90%. Accumulation of three failed quizzes or exams throughout the paramedic training program will result in probation and possible dismissal. This is further defined in the Student Handbook, Chapter 3, page 1. All lecture style classes are letter graded on the 4.0 scale.

Clinical practicum courses are graded pass/fail due to the hands-on nature of the courses. Students are evaluated on a 1-5 Likert Scale with the minimum passing average of 3. Students in clinical practicums are evaluated by UW physicians, nurses and Seattle Sr. Paramedics. All evaluations are reviewed by faculty and the Director and or Assistant Program Director of the Paramedic program.

Overall students must maintain a passing level of 80% in all courses. Students failing to meet these standards are placed on probation. Every attempt is made to remediate students utilizing tutors, big brother/big sister programs as established in paramedic training, and individual assistance from the paramedic training office. If a student is not able to maintain minimum standards while on probation, the student will be dismissed.

 

Student Information

A. Advising, Counseling and Mentoring

A strategic plan is in place to advise future candidates wishing to pursue this degree pathway. By approaching people early in their decision making process, we are able to counsel and advise them in the selection of their academic preparatory coursework. The Director and or the Assistant Director of the program will have responsibility for or will train and assign other program faculty/staff to make presentations at regional Health Career Fairs; plan, advertise and present information sessions for potential applicants; visit regional Fire Departments and Public Health Districts to speak about preparation for the degree program or speak to local community groups who may provide scholarships for deserving applicants.

In addition, the Paramedic Training staff will identify and mentor individuals over time and assist them in developing an educational plan that will keep them on a track to enter the program with the proper degree requirements. We will assist them in locating courses at their local community colleges that would provide the correct transfer credit needed to be eligible for admission to the degree pathway.

 

B. Diversity

Paramedic Training enjoys a naturally diverse student body by virtue of the fact that candidates are pre-selected by the agencies that send them to this facility for training.  The paramedic providers in this region are fire and EMS based agencies that are required to follow local and federal regulations with regard to hiring practices.  As a result of equal opportunity employers, the student population is without bias or discrimination with regard to race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or religion.

We enjoy a diverse student group including female, male, Asian, Caucasian, African-American, American Indian and Hispanic as well as those who are disadvantaged.  Due to state mandated hiring practices, we would expect to continue training a fairly broad, consistent, and ethnically diverse group of students each year.  Through our counseling, advising and mentorship we will continue to identify, encourage and advise all candidates in their preparation to be admissible to our program.

 

C. Financial Aid & Scholarship

Currently paramedic student UW tuition will be paid for by the student or their respective provider group. It is the intention of the Medic One Foundation to explore offering student scholarships in the future however currently they are unable to do this. Students may still be eligible for other forms of aid. Students will be encouraged to seek scholarships through their own resources. Details are available through the Paramedic Training office.

Students should complete the free on-line FAFSA Application at www.fafsa.gov if they wish to be considered for other scholarships, grants or loan opportunities. The FAFSA Application deadline is the 15th of February prior to the start of the next academic year the student will be attending.

 

Summary

The UW/HMC Paramedic Training Program, supported by the University of Washington School of Medicine, is the only Paramedic Training Program sanctioned by Washington State law (RCW 18.73.200) to provide Washington State Certification for Paramedics. We have strived to succeed in our mission by maintaining national accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The increase in curriculum content generated by the Emergency Medical Services Education Agenda for the Future and the Paramedic Expanded Scope of Practice has pushed the accrediting agency to recommend that certificate programs upgrade to Bachelor Degree status and has been so noted. It is quite clear that the national EMS environment is transitioning Paramedicine to a degree program. It is also widely acknowledged that the rigors of the University of Washington /Harborview Medical Center Paramedic Training Program more than satisfy the strict University standards for a degree program. It is with pride that the UW/HMC Paramedic Training Program offers this pathway to a Bachelor of Paramedicine degree at the University of Washington.

 

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1. Nichol G, Thomas E, Callaway CW, et al. Regional variation in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence and outcome. JAMA. 2008-09-24. Vol. 300, Issue 12; p. 1423-31

2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition, Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos101.htm

3. Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board; 2008 Strategic Master Plan for Higher Education in Washington. p. 25-26. http://www.hecb.wa.gov/news/newsreports/newsreportsindex.asp Accessed November 22, 2008.

4. The Medic One Foundation. http://www.mediconefoundation.org/ Accessed November 22, 2008.