DC paramedic students showcase life-saving skills at national competition

Once again, Durham College (DC) Paramedic and Paramedic – Advanced Care students were among the winners at this year’s National Paramedic Competition, which was held on April 9 at DC’s Oshawa campus.

The competition saw 34 teams of professional and student paramedics from across Canada put their medical knowledge and skills to the test in a competitive format. Crews of student paramedics, along with professionals in advanced and primary care, all competed in scenario-specific situations at the same time. Team members were judged individually on their performance during each scenario, and on how well they performed together as a unit. At the end of the competition, the combined scores were added up and the winners were declared in the student, advanced care and primary care divisions.

DC’s team of Jena Spencer and Rob Triano, second-year Paramedic students, finished second among the 17 teams competing in the student division. Students in DC’s paramedic programs also played a role in helping the competition run as smoothly as possible.

Ralph Hofmann, program co-ordinator of the Paramedic and Paramedic – Advanced Care program, which is housed under the college’s School of Justice & Emergency Services, said there was more than enough behind-the-scenes work available to keep many of the students busy, even though they weren’t competing. “Some students helped our competitors during practice sessions, while others volunteered to assist with running the competition by serving as simulated patients, providing supplies and even doing make-up for ‘victims’ during the scenarios,” said Hofmann. “Students got the opportunity to network and show off their stuff to prospective employers and co-workers, and the competitors were able to perform their skills in a different setting and have some fun with it.”

While competitions like this are no substitute for an actual medical emergency, Hofmann said the participants definitely knew they had to be at the top of their game in order to win. Nevertheless, he says it was a great experience for everyone involved, no matter what the outcome. “The competition can be stressful and challenging and, in the end, no matter what the result, our DC students walk away with smiles on their faces,” he said.