New study option maximises flexibility

14 Jun, 2024
New study option maximises flexibility

Auckland University of Technology (AUT) has launched a new pathway for paramedicine students to earn a second degree within a continuous four-year course of study.

Created in conjunction with Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora, newly graduated students will be able to move straight into studying to become a Perioperative Practitioner (anaesthetic technician) for the first time.

The programme commences in July this year, with the first students graduating next year with a degree in Perioperative Practice alongside their existing qualification.

"This innovation opens up a new opportunity for Paramedics to build on their degree, while training more people for these crucial roles," says Megan Richardson, Programme Leader Perioperative Practice at AUT.

“Giving these dedicated individuals the chance to diversify their careers while helping address acute workplace shortages shows our commitment to ensuring the health workforce meets the needs of Aotearoa.

"We anticipate strong interest in the course from students keen to maximise their flexibility in the health workforce."

Judith McAra-Couper, Head of School of Clinical Science, says offering this new pathway for Paramedicine graduates is a continuation of AUT’s dedication to ensuring the university offers courses students want and the health sector needs.

“We can’t wait to welcome the first cohort to campus next semester and to continue working with Health NZ to support the students as they work towards their new qualification,” she says.

This new programme will provide an additional pipeline into the Anaesthetic Technician/Perioperative Practitioner profession and compliments the Perioperative Practice major in the Bachelor of Health Science provided by AUT.

“Driving local-led innovation in training is a priority in our Health Workforce Plan, and this is a great example of that.  The AUT programme creates welcome additional options for new health graduates and offers additional flexibility and capacity for the health workforce. It’s health and education working in partnership, and hopefully the first of many future dual qualification/dual registration programmes,” says Sue Waters, Interim National Chief, Allied Health, Health NZ.

“Having begun my own health career as a paramedic and then retrained as a doctor, I can testify to the power of ‘cross-training’. I welcome the fact this new course creates efficiencies for students wanting options and the greater insights they’ll gain. The value to the health workforce is huge,” says Carlton Irving, Chief Clinical Officer, Allied Health, Health NZ and Chair of the Paramedic Council.

Health NZ will seek to support these students through clinical placements relevant to their studies. Importantly, this new initiative will not impact employers of paramedics, as there is no current shortage.

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