Background and goals
Evolution in healthcare service and significant demographic changes put pressure on the delivery of health service and therefore on ambulance workers, (which can be Nurses, Paramedics or EMT´s), hereafter called paramedics. This has changed the prehospital service from being focusing on first aid, stabilization and rapid transportation to hospitals, over to make an advanced diagnostic often in emergency situation, offer community health service, acute mental disorder prehospital diagnosis and even to provide treatment that previously were given in hospitals. This demands more knowledge and skills among Paramedics.
Cross-border co-operation, for example, in major accidents, requires Paramedics to have comparable knowledge and to provide comparable services between countries. Consequently, more education has been called for in Paramedicine and many countries are aiming to educate and graduate Paramedics at an undergraduate level, but education of Paramedics varies drastically within European countries. Even within neighboring countries like the Nordic countries. Some require an undergraduate degree while other settle for shorter coursework on a lower academic level. Two Nordic countries Finland and Sweden have many years of experience in educating Paramedics at a university level. Norway started few years ago while Denmark and Iceland are in preparation stage for teaching Paramedicine at a university level. However, it is peculiar that not a harmonized curriculum is used and, as mentioned earlier, it is desirable that Paramedics have a similar academic background and qualifications. We need to respond to this reality, and as a start, four Nordic countries have decided to work together with the objective to create exemplary curricula for the education of Paramedics at the university level (BS, 180 ECTS or more, according to Bologna principles). It would be of great benefit to these countries to have the same curriculum that could even become exemplary to other European countries.
The coordinated curriculum also strengthens the international collaboration between the universities, which is currently quite uncommon regarding Paramedic education. There are possibilities to teach joint courses online and students can go abroad for vocational and simulation training as well in the context of this proposed collaboration. By offering BS degree for Paramedic at a university level, it is also a chance that the extra product of the projects, at least in some countries where the profession of paramedics has been majority male, that the number of male students in universities will increase. Witch can be a good news where women are now outnumber men at universities in many countries.
Objectives and benefits
The results will be obtained by a number of steps or timed work packages. Among other things, these are:
1) To gather information on the differences between Paramedic education within the participating countries, historically.
2) Compare current situation and curriculum.
3) Review the legal side of the profession, are there differences in rights and duties, is there a need for new amendments?
4) Which form of education is most appropriate like distance (digital) learning, online courses, practical simulation e.c.. How can we make the study accessible to everyone regardless of residence?
5) Design a new exemplary curriculum, the Intellectual output, that addresses all the modern problems that the profession faces and looks to the future.
Long-term benefits will be improved paramedics education at the tertiary level. Coordination between the Nordic countries in Paramedic education. Greater opportunities for cross-border work, students and teachers exchange.
As the Intellectual Output will be available for other universities this might be used as a model for other European countries.