Training future frontline responders: DC paramedic program prioritizes mental health and well-being

Category: Health and Community Services

Category: Law, Justice and Emergency Services

Category: Mature learners

Paramedics are the frontline responders in medical emergencies, bridging the critical gap between the scene of an incident and hospital care. Their expertise, quick thinking, and compassion save countless lives every day, making them indispensable in times of crisis.

At Durham College (DC), we train the next generation of first responders in the Paramedic diploma program. This dynamic program helps students build the diverse skill set needed to succeed, and includes clinical and field placements as well as experiential learning opportunities – such as our annual emergency simulation exercise – to maximize hands-on learning within the field. A key focus is also supporting the mental health and well-being of not only community members but the paramedics themselves, given the stressful, high-intensity work that they do.

As we recognize Paramedic Services Week, we caught up with three of DC’s paramedic students – Sofia Mingram Romero, Remiel kit Manlapig, and Manav Patel – to learn more about their experience in the program.

  • Sofia Mingram Romero

    With her love for photography and passion for capturing life through her lens, Sofia realized she wanted to be able to support life in other ways, too. When she witnessed a medical emergency while working, she was able to help, but realized there were more advanced skills she might need in the future. That’s when she decided to return to DC, where she had previously graduated from the Advertising and Promotion program, to pursue a new career as a paramedic.

    What she values most in the program is how modernization and holistic care are redefining the profession.

    “There has been a significant change in the way paramedics help those experiencing mental health issues, so there is a need to consider the complexities in people’s lives and how to best help them,” she said.

    In addition to acknowledging the need to help people with their mental health needs, the program prioritizes the mental health and well-being of its students.

    “In this role, we experience a lot of stressful and challenging situations. Sharing our experiences and being vulnerable while working together is critical to ensure we are getting the help and support we need.”

  • Remiel kit Manlapig

    While studying Emergency Services Fundamentals at another institution, Remiel transitioned to the paramedic program at DC because he was looking for something more fast-paced, while remaining in the medical profession. He said the exceptional support from faculty and the round the clock accessibility of paramedic resources such as labs were among the key reasons he chose the program.

    Like Sofia, Remiel values the mental health supports available in the program. Peer support groups are offered for each cohort, and Remiel is a designated member who is responsible for looking out for peers when they face something overwhelming.

    After graduation, Remiel is considering becoming a community paramedic, a non-emergency service provider who supports public health and preventative services. There are opportunities for students to participate in this type of paramedic work through their field placements.

    “DC is leading the way with stationing its community paramedics in locations such as the Back Door Mission to extend help to the homeless as well as provide critical care to those in need at their homes,” he said.

  • Manav Patel

    As a soon-to-be graduate of the Paramedic program, Manav said the most valuable aspect of the program for him was the opportunity to connect and interact with professional first responders through placements.

    “I take inspiration from those professionals and can leverage the experiences into my own training and learning. They’re all willing to teach you,” he said.

    “One of the best things that we have through the program is that even the teachers are very aware of how our mental health does impact our education.”

    The importance of nurturing both physical health and emotional resilience is a key takeaway from the program.

    He enjoys how every day is different and brings opportunities to learn new things.

Equipped with knowledge, empathy, and unwavering determination, these aspiring paramedics are all set to make an incredible impact on the lives of those they serve, ushering in a future defined by compassion and excellence. Are you interested in a career as a paramedic? Learn more online.