Western Sydney University is going global to unlock new opportunities for paramedicine students

Western Sydney University paramedicine students are crossing global borders in a bid to gain more experience and specialised skills while working in multi-cultural environments.

The international clinical placement program, which gives students the opportunity to learn around the world on short-term trips, recently won the Engagement Excellence Award in the 2023 School of Health Sciences Excellence Awards.

After commencing in 2015, the program has established relationships with international universities and health services so that students gain exposure to a diverse range of patients and scenarios in settings including New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, America, and Finland.

Dr Navin Naidoo, Director of the Paramedicine Academic Program, within the School of Health Sciences, is proud of all the students and staff involved in the program, saying that clinical placement is crucial for contextualising theory to practice and for the internationalisation endeavor.

“International placement has the added benefit of cultural and health system nuance that provides unique opportunities for cultural competence and systems understanding that can be contrasted with the Australian experience,” said Dr Naidoo.

“It benefits students in terms of maturity from the wisdom of travel, employability from having a broader world view and enhances cultural competency.”

Students voluntarily take part, and are placed in safety pods, so they live and work together, share costs, share experiences, and provide each other support.

Completing a Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedicine) and now studying a Masters of Humanitarian and Development Studies, Megan De Silva did a six-week placement in Wrexham, Wales last year.

Predominately working on a ‘general duties’ ambulance, Megan said that her placement was the most rewarding way to have finished her paramedicine degree before going out in the field.

“I was involved in clinical interventions and decision making, I had the opportunity to spend a day in a doctor-led maternity ward at Wrexham Hospital and responded to trauma cases alongside the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service,” Megan said.

“This placement was a once in a lifetime opportunity to gain a global insight into paramedicine through experiencing different jurisdictions and international healthcare systems.

I not only made lifelong friends and mentors but increased my personal and professional growth and development.”

Spending five-weeks in Cape Town, South Africa with seven others from her cohort, Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedicine) student Ceyda Timurtas believes that learning from well informed clinicians and attending jobs that differ from the Australian setting provided her with invaluable experience and knowledge.

“We worked with government and private ambulance services in Cape Town, including an aero-medical service where I took my first ever helicopter ride, we provided treatment to patients within our student paramedic scope during on road shifts and we also had the opportunity to observe caesarean deliveries in hospital and autopsies in the mortuary,” Ceyda said.

“Cape Town has a high incidence of trauma calls and for this reason, their paramedics are very highly trained with a wide scope of practice.

We also explored beautiful Cape Town on our days off which made the whole experience even better.”

Professor Gregory Kolt, Dean of the School of Health Sciences said the Engagement Excellence Award recognises the Paramedicine Program staff’s commitment to offering students innovative opportunities to grow as global citizens.

“We want to equip our students with the knowledge and skills, to be able to actively collaborate in partnership, and to contribute to a sustainable, diverse and socially-just world,” said Professor Kolt.

“I am proud to be part of a team of staff who works tirelessly to ensure our students can expand their expertise of paramedic work and clinical practice in safe and supported settings, and of our dedicated students who are wonderful ambassadors representing the University.”

For more information about Western Sydney University’s Bachelor of Paramedicine, please visit the course page.


28 September 2023

Emily  Feszczuk, Media Officer

Images:  supplied