Ep. 9 – South African Paramedics inspire with evidence based practice

What can we as Danish paramedics, or other similar countries, do to develop and grow our profession when we don’t have an academic version of paramedicine/paramedic education. Willem is a South African paramedic who is currently finishing his Ph.D. at Karolinska University in Sweden. He gives his perspective on what we can do to influence and take control of our own profession.

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In March 2018 I went to South Africa to attend a still unknown conference arranged by the blog badEM. Before the conference, I spent two days attending my second Teaching course by The TeachingCoOp. A course taught by some of the world’s best and most innovative educators. Two days with a focus on presentations, learning about feedback and flipping the classroom.

However, the conference was the main reason for my trip. I had the pleasure of being a part of the faculty in the simulation workshop arranged by my good friend and inspiration Ian Summers (Aus). Beside the honour of teaching about simulation, I could enjoy the rest of the conference as a participant and learner. #badEMfest18 was an amazing conference. A new way of learning. Everybody living together in tents and a single-track program making everything very warm and friendly. There was a very broad range of speakers, diverse in every way, gender, culture, and country.

I knew from my research before the trip, that the blogs badEM and South Africas were known for well-educated paramedics and a very collaborative Emergency Care setting, both in hospital and prehospital. Therefore, I had planned an interview with Willem Stassen, a paramedic and member of the badEM team. A paramedic that I find very interesting because he has continued with research after his first 4 years in university studying Emergency Care Practitioner (SA title for paramedic).

In Denmark, as of now, there are no plans to create a university-based model of Paramedicine, and that is why I find Willems history so interesting. He couldn’t stop asking questions after he finished his initial training. That lead him to a Master degree which again inspired him to ask even more questions and go all the way, as he is now very close to finishing his Ph.D. He told me that everything changed after his Master’s degree and then even more after he started his Ph.D. Leaders and educators started to listen. Not because he had invented a special life-saving device, but because suddenly there was a prehospital person, a paramedic, creating knowledge and research of high quality.

I was interested in his questions, in his passion for science. I wanted to ask him if the academic path is the right path for our profession? I also wanted to know if he had any ideas or advice to me and the rest of the Danish paramedics, who is dreaming about lifting our profession to a new and higher standard of care.

So, what can we do in Denmark when the decision makers and the people in the profession don’t agree about the future of the profession? Willem has a perspective on that.


Willen on Twitter @willem_stassen

South African scope for Emergency care practitioner

South African Masters program

Scope for Danish Paramedics – unfortunate it’s in Danish, but drugs and devices are almost the same names as in English. The scope is the left column and the next five is the different regions in Denmark. Depending on the system, demography, and distance there is a very big difference between the regions. Also, the political views of every region have a major influence on whether it has a strong Paramedic scope or is based on a prehospital physician lead system.

The blog badEM where Willem Co-author – Go see badEM blog it’s amazing and they do a big difference in EM.


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Author: Morten Lindkvist

One weird medic trying to spread the inspiration of prehospital education bedside and online.

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