University College, Cork’s School of Medicine launched a new medical diploma programme in conjunction with the Irish Defence Forces and the Academy of Emergency Care at Cork University Hospital last month.
The programme will act as the entry level course for serving members of the defence forces that wish to enter the Medical Corp. The much sought after contract to deliver entry-level medical training to Defence Force members was landed by UCC after what the university described as a “competitive tendering process earlier this year.”
The class, which is comprised of member of all three branches of the Permanent Defence Forces—Army (2 students), Air Corps (2 students) and Naval Service (6 students)— took part in an orientation day on the 21st of September in Brookfield Health Centre where they were greeted by the Defence Force student liaison officer P.O. Kieran McMahon, the Dean of the School of Medicine Professor George Shorten and the president of UCC , Dr. Michael Murphy who described the programme as “imaginative and practical.”
The Commanding officer of the Medical Corp, Col. Dr. Gerard Kerr stated that: “UCC – and its predecessor, Queen’s College Cork – has had a long and distinguished history in offering medical education to the military. Our records go back to medical graduates of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth-centuries who went on to pursue military careers in India, Mesopotamia and Afghanistan, among other places. Today’s recruits to the Diploma in Military Medical Care are representatives of a new twenty-first century approach to medical training in the military, taking advantage of all that modern technology and medical education can offer.”
Professor Stephen Cusack , Director of the Military Medical Care Diploma course said: “I am very proud to be associated with this exciting venture. The School of Medicine and Health at UCC is very pleased to be working with the Defence Forces in delivering this innovative programme.”
The course is designed to improve first responder experience and to give students basic training in military first aid which can be applied in the field. Graduates of the course will be qualified as Civilian Emergency Medical Technicians as well as being qualified Combat Medical Technicians. Students will also undergo training on how to care for victims whilst in the field by undertaking scenario and simulation exercises which will involve training in UCC Medical School’s Advanced Southern Simulation Education and Training Centre (ASSET). Finally, they will participate in a placement scheme that will see the students join a variety of medical professionals, such as ambulance personnel. On graduation they will have the opportunity to serve in the Field Medical Company which served along sides Irish peacekeepers on overseas deployment.
The diploma is not the first combined effort on the university’s behalf to educate the Defence Forces in pre-hospital medical care. The Emergency Department at Cork University Hospital –which operates in conjunction with UCC under the memorandum of understanding— has previously trained members of the Army Ranger Wing (the army’s elite unit), as well as Defence force instructors.