Are further education opportunities for emergency care technicians needed and do they exist?

  • C Vincent-Lambert
  • J Bezuidenhout,
  • M Jansen van Vuuren


Background. A recent review of emergency care education and training in South Africa resulted in the creation of a new 2-year, 240-credit National
Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 6 Emergency Care Technician (ECT) qualification. The National Department of Health (NDoH) view ECTs as ‘mid-level workers’ in the emergency care profession. Concurrently, an existing 3-year National Diploma and a 1-year BTech programme were
consolidated to form a single 4-year, 480-credit, NQF level 8 professional Bachelor Degree in Emergency Medical Care (B EMC). This study critically
analysed and compared the ECT mid-level worker qualification with the professional B EMC degree to design a framework and bridging programme
to support articulation between the two qualifications.
Methods. The researchers used an expository, retrospective critical analysis of existing documentation followed by a focus group discussion and a Delphi questionnaire. These processes ultimately informed the design of the framework and contents of a bridging programme.
Results. Similarities and substantial differences were identified between the ECT and B EMC qualifications in relation to scope, complexity and depth
of knowledge. A framework for articulation was designed, which included a bridging programme for ECT graduates wishing to enter the B EMC degree programme.
Conclusion. The study predicted a strong sustained demand from ECTs as mid-level workers for further study and associated professional development. It is possible for graduates of the 2-year ECT programme to articulate directly into the third year of the B EMC degree through successful completion of a bridging programme.

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