Bridging the gap with hands-on industry training for Emergency Medical Responder students

An ambluance is parked on the side of the road with a river and blue sky in the background. The ambulance has an 'Aaron Paramedical' logo on it.

Partnership with Aaron Paramedical Services supports both students and the health-care industry — whether they’re beginning a career as an Emergency Medical Responder or continuing their studies.

SAIT’s Emergency Medical Responder Certificate of Achievement prepares students with the entry-level skills and knowledge needed to work as an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) in Alberta. The program combines self-managed online study with a mandatory classroom lab and ride along shifts, where students are assessed and learn practical skills.

Three SAIT continuing education courses and a 16-hour ride along training component, delivered by training partner Aaron Paramedical Services, are required to complete the program and receive a credential. The certificate  also prepares students interested in pursuing SAIT’s Primary Care Paramedic program.

“On my first ride-along shift with Aaron Paramedical, I met several primary care paramedics and emergency medical responders who happily offered some advice on my upcoming exam, which really helped to alleviate my test anxiety,” says Destiny Ducommun, EMR program student. “They also gave me great advice on applying for work once I receive my exam results.”

Meet the team 🤝

The hands-on training offers a glimpse into what working in the industry is like and provides the opportunity to see how a crew operates on the ambulance, while also interacting with patients. It also offers insight into how different medical professionals work as a team to support the health-care system.

“As one of the hiring companies, we noticed a gap with students coming out of school and transitioning into industry,” says Shelby Brandvold, Director of Operations, Aaron Paramedical Services. “We’re looking at how we can make this work experience an industry standard for students coming out of school and into the workforce to set them up for success in the real world.

“It's a great way for students to gain experience, and helps employers see they're engaged and interested. When they volunteer with Aaron Paramedical, they can also put that on their resumé.”

During Ducommun’s workplace training hours, she was placed on inter-facility transport, where she learned what’s involved in a typical shift, toured the Foothills Medical Centre and garnered a deeper understanding of working on an ambulance and the tools available in an EMR’s kitbag.

“It was really valuable real-world experience interacting with patients. It gave me some insight into my future career and calmed my nerves before my exam,” says Ducommun.

Opportunity awaits!

Daphne Stevenson, SAIT instructor and paramedic, sees this as a great opportunity for students to gain hands-on practice interacting with patients, while they learn the importance of rapport and completing thorough assessments.

“They’ll be able to hone their skills checking vital signs and taking a patient’s history — it’ll be a huge help for them going forward,” says Stevenson.

Aaron Paramedical Services provides medical coverage at large-scale events like the Calgary Stampede.

“We’re a very large part of the medical planning and coverage at the Calgary Stampede grounds,” says Brandvold. “Students fulfilling their training requirements during the 10-day span will be utilized at the grounds, giving them a clinical view and mass-gathering medicine experience.

“Our employees are also finding it to be an interesting opportunity acting as a preceptor to help the students and really give them a positive first experience into the industry. We're excited to be able to create that relationship with SAIT to support the students coming out of school into the workforce.”

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