What we can learn from each other

As globalisation continues to rise year on year, the benefit of international learning and collaboration has become increasingly apparent. Within health services, the sharing of research between countries undoubtedly helps improve medical practice, policy and education, both on a national and international level.

Within paramedicine, organisations such as International Paramedic have been created to: ‘address the challenges and opportunities facing the paramedic profession by looking to best practice and current evidence shared by its international members who are not limited by the geopolitical barriers of province, state, region or country’ (Acker, 2014).

International exchange programmes are a regular occurrence within higher education institutions, due to their ability to offer students intercultural awareness and the development of global issues related to the student’s field of study (Lord et al, 2013). Within paramedicine, a number of successful exchange programmes have been documented (Owen and Woodyatt, 2012; Ashton et al, 2013; Jones and McGillis, 2013; Lord et al, 2013; Rice, 2014).

The advent of the internet and social media has also helped health professionals, such as paramedics, develop their personal learning network. While a certain level of quality control must be ensured, the ability for information to be readily shared and discussions of issues relating to pre-hospital practice to be had, offers a great opportunity for personal development.

In this issue of International Paramedic Practice, Rayneau et al recount their experience competing at the Šumava National Park of the Czech Republic for the Pilsen Cup of Paramedics. This is a yearly competition for student paramedics from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, based around remote medicine, patient assessment, treatment and extrication techniques, which this year was open to three students outside the participating countries. The authors praised the event, highlighting that to their knowledge there is little in the way of this type of intensive training used in the UK. As a result of taking part in this event, Coventry University staff and students are in talks about producing something similar in the UK. This is just one example of the potential benefit of international learning.

It is apparent that many opportunities exist for international learning, whether through research, attending conferences, or the sharing of information electronically. Through international collaboration, the development of the profession on a global scale can be achieved and patient care improved.

References

Acker J (2014) International Paramedic: connecting the world. International Paramedic Practice 4(1): 3–4

Ashton K, Davies R, Corkhill S (2013) International student paramedic exchange: the student perspective. Journal of Paramedic Practice 5(5): 286–9

Jones P, McGillis W (2013) International learning: bridging the gap through exchange programmes. International Paramedic Practice 3(2): 53–5

Lord B, Williams J, Jones S, Chittenden M (2013) A pilot international exchange programme for paramedic students. Journal of Paramedic Practice 5(8): 470–5

Owen T, Woodyatt A (2012) Observations from a student exchange programme: UK and Sweden prehospital care. Journal of Paramedic Practice 4(2): 105–10

Rice A (2014) The transnational delivery of paramedic education: the Gibraltar case study. Journal of Paramedic Practice 6(2): 90–92

Taken from International Paramedic Practice, published 23 July 2015.

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