Open University awards in paramedic sciences
Friday, October 7, 2011
What can the OU offer paramedics?So what can the OU offer to people in the emergency care area? It might seem counterintuitive to teach such a hands-on subject at a distance, but the OU achieves this by entering into partnerships with employers who can deliver face-to-face the practical aspects of the subject. In this way, students learn theoretical material at the same time as improving their practical skills, and so have the opportunity to underpin practice with theory—this is a central tenet of the awards. Students must be employed in a relevant field while they are studying, and this benefits both the students themselves, who can earn while they learn, and the employers, who can select their most promising employees for career development by this route. The OU offers a foundation degree (FD) in paramedic sciences, and a diploma of higher education (DipHE) in paramedic sciences. The content and structure of these awards is identical, but for various cultural and financial reasons some employers favour one or the other—for example, foundation degrees are not recognized in Scotland, so Scottish students undertake the diploma version of the award. From the student's point of view, the learning experience is the same regardless of the name.Both awards are accredited by the UK's Health Professions Council (HPC), and any graduate of either award is eligible to apply to the HPC for registration as a paramedic. Thus, these awards are most suitable for people currently working at ambulance technician or emergency care assistant level, and wishing to become a paramedic. The FD has also proved popular with paramedics who already have HPC accreditation but who wish to obtain higher education qualifications to strengthen their knowledge base.
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