for tomorrow



Eighteen Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University second-year emergency medical care (EMC) students will get a taste of reality when they start “working” a gruelling 48-hour shift from Monday through to Wednesday.

They will report for duty on 7am on Monday at the “base station” (EMC rescue unit based at CSIR buildings) from where they will be dispatched to attend to 12 gruelling simulated rescue operations, leaving them with very little time between calls to sleep or eat. 

NMMU introduced the new four-year emergency medical care degree last year as part of its big to help meet dire shortages of health care employees in the Eastern Cape.

The programme’s facilitator, Nico Louw, for example, is one of just three graduate paramedics in the entire Eastern Cape. The province only has 51 advanced life support paramedics, of 2 305 nationally. This is a ratio of one to 129 411 patients, compared to the South African norm of 1: 21 258.

The simulation exercise will give NMMU the opportunity to see how many of its students are up to the challenge.

“We are going to expose the students to the reality of the industry and the exercise will serve as a benchmark of the highest standards in emergency medical care,” says Louw.

This exercise forms part of the module on physical preparedness.

Louw says it also shows the students’ ability to work in a team and level of tolerance.

First-year EMC students will act as patients, bystanders or family members of the “injured”.

ESS Medical will provide the emergency vehicle for the rescue operations and NMMU’s Campus Health Services will serve as the “hospital”.