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Bringing paramedic training to rural communities

Port McNeill Mayor Gerry Furney, far left, and BCAS Superintendent Lance Stephenson, far right, bookend a group of emergency medical responders and dignitaries who took in the opening ceremonies of a new primary care paramedic training course in the Old School of Port McNeill. - Photo submitted
Port McNeill Mayor Gerry Furney, far left, and BCAS Superintendent Lance Stephenson, far right, bookend a group of emergency medical responders and dignitaries who took in the opening ceremonies of a new primary care paramedic training course in the Old School of Port McNeill.
— image credit: Photo submitted

PORT MCNEILL— BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) announced an important training initiative for primary care paramedics from several North Vancouver Island communities.

“I am extremely excited to be part of this joint initiative between BCAS, the Justice Institute of B.C. (JIBC) and the Ministry of Advanced Education,” BCAS Superintendent Lance Stephenson said Nov. 4 at the Old School.

“By bringing primary care paramedic (PCP) training to the rural communities, BCAS and the JIBC are opening the door to skill development and training while enabling staff to remain close to home,” he said.

In order to maintain high quality service to Port McNeill, BCAS partnered with the JIBC and the Ministry of Advanced Education to make this training initiative possible.

The success of this event would not be possible without the incredible support of the community and Town of Port McNeill, said Stephenson.

“BCAS employs many emergency medical responders and PCPs in small communities, such as Port McNeill, who have demanding full and part time jobs, families and other community commitments,” he said. “It can be challenging for these employees to attend long courses where travel, accommodations and time away from family are often required.”

Starting last week, 20 BCAS EMRs from the Northern Vancouver Island region — including Port McNeill, Port Hardy, Alert Bay, Port Alice, Zeballos, Tahsis, Gold River and Sayward — took part in hands-on training to supplement the online training that’s already underway.

The PCP training will take approximately nine months to complete.

Throughout the duration of the course, the students will undergo training in the areas of anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, airway management and general patient care.

Once fully qualified, these PCPs will provide scene responses in the community of Port McNeill as part of BCAS’ commitment to high quality patient care across British Columbia.

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