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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Dublin medic climbs educational mountain

Advanced paramedic is among first graduates from UCLan’s one-of-its-kind mountain medicine course

A dad-of-two is planning on using his new University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) qualification to become a Kilimanjaro expedition leader and medic.

John Gorman is among the first cohort to graduate from the Postgraduate Diploma Mountain Medicine course and is looking to utilise his new skills to venture around the world.

The 45-year-old, who is an advanced paramedic for the National Ambulance Service in Ireland, said: “I plan to use my new qualification to assist me in my role as expedition leader/medic on treks to Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp and further afield. I would love to spend some time in either of the polar regions to gain further wilderness medicine experience too.”

UCLan is the only UK provider of a course which is designed to give registered healthcare practitioners interested in expedition, travel, remote rescue and high-altitude medicine the theoretical and practical knowledge to manage the specific illnesses and diseases that may occur in these environments.

John, from Dublin, said: “This course provided me with the opportunity to combine my professional practice skills with my personal passion of wilderness and mountain medicine. Bringing together both skillsets to develop my knowledge and understanding of the high-altitude mountain environment and casualty care. Gaining an academic qualification in this area is vital to my professional goals.

“It was also great to meet like-minded medical professionals from around the world and spend time in the most beautiful of classrooms. The Scottish Highlands and Swiss Alps stand out as the two most enjoyable aspects of this course.”

The dad to Aaron, age 13, and James, age 9, had to balance his family life with his wife Michelle, his full-time job and his studies, all while dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The former University College Dublin student said: “After a Covid delay of 18 months it is satisfying to get to this point. As most of the faculty and students are full-time healthcare providers, we all returned to frontline duty and our studies took a backseat for a while. Getting back into the mindset of studying and catching up on assignments was initially difficult to balance but I’m delighted to be finally graduating.”

He added: “I would also like to thank the mountain guides, from the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association, who contributed so much to the development of our learning in mountain medicine. Their wealth of experience is another reason that this course is so well regarded.”

John was one of more than 2,000 graduates who donned their academic caps and gowns in the Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre during UCLan’s nine winter graduation ceremonies.

Dr Tim Sanders, Course Leader for the MSc Rural Medicine, MSc Mountain Medicine, MSc Urgent Care courses, said: “We’re really excited to be celebrating the successes of this first cohort of UCLan PgDip Mountain Medicine students who will not only be receiving their academic award, but also the UIAA/ICAR/ISMM International Diploma in Mountain Medicine, a prestigious professional qualification that is recognised internationally within the mountaineering industry.

“This is a highly practical course that takes place in some awe-inspiring settings. Students are under no illusions though; the content is challenging and academically robust, developing their ability to make decisions under pressure, as members of teams, but often in relative professional isolation, whilst interpreting an often-limited evidence base.

“This group of students has striven the sometimes-arduous journey up snow-filled gullies and to mountain summits alongside hours of research in the University library in pursuit of these qualifications. They have also navigated a pause in course delivery due to the coronavirus pandemic. We wish them every success in the next stages in their journeys, wherever in the world these may take them.”

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