Meet four NC grads behind recent competition success at Niagara EMS

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A team from Niagara EMS including NC grads of NC grads Len Kowalik,Tracey Groszeib, Ryan Howlett and Connor McCulloch, won second place at the ITLS competition in Quebec City in November 2017. Photo submitted by Niagara EMS

Recent NC grad Connor McCulloch was selected unanimously by the judges as the recipient of the inaugural GE Individual Excellence Award at the ITLS Competition. Photo submitted by Niagara EMS.

Four graduates of Niagara College’s paramedic program have recently gained accolades for their work at a prestigious International Trauma Life Support (ITLS) Competition held in Quebec City in November 2017 as part of a team from Niagara Emergency Medical Services.

The Niagara EMS ITLS team – which consisted entirely of NC grads, including Connor McCulloch, Tracey Groszeibl, Len Kowalik, and Ryan Howlett – won second place at the ITLS competition, only six points behind first-place winners from Toronto EMS.

As part of the Trauma Competition, teams from around the world compete using the ITLS assessment to triage and treat trauma patients in simulated complex scenarios (from helicopter crashes to cougar attacks). The competition is judged by trauma care specialists from around the world, and scoring is extremely detailed for each simulated trauma scenario.

👏Way to go guys!!!👍A team from Niagara placed second overall, scoring just six points behind Toronto EMS.One of our…

Posted by St. Catharines, the GREAT – SCG Niagara on Tuesday, November 21, 2017

In addition to the team’s accomplishment, Connor McCullough was selected unanimously by the judges as the recipient of the inaugural GE Individual Excellence Award. This award is in memory of Toronto paramedic George Eliadis, a dynamic ITLS competitor who died earlier this year when his motorcycle was hit by another vehicle. The GE Individual Excellence Award recognizes and highlights the best individual excellence and the recipient must also display professionalism, leadership, compassion, and trauma care.

We caught up with our paramedic alumni and asked them about their award, career and experience at NC.  Here is what they had to say.

Connor McCulloch

Graduated from: Primary Care Paramedic (2014) and Advanced Care Paramedic (2017) programs

Hometown / current city: Dunnville / Welland

Position at Niagara EMS: Full-Time Advanced Care Paramedic with Niagara EMS

Years with Niagara EMS:  Three-and-a-half years

Award: Inaugural George Eliadis Memorial Award for Trauma Care Competition Individual Excellence

The award is “judges’ choice” and the description of the awards reads:

The George Eliadis Award is presented during the International Trauma Life Support Conference. The award is presented to the Patient Care Competition participant who, during the competition, demonstrated the highest level of professionalism, leadership, and trauma care.

How do you feel about your award/ why is it meaningful to you:

I think it’s important to know that this award is George’s legacy! I am so very proud to have received it for that reason.

This award has become very special to me as it is dedicated to George Eliadis, a Toronto paramedic who meant a great deal, to many people and the profession. I did not know George, but I wish I had; receiving his award has been a very proud moment in my life. I have a lot of admiration for the professionals I’ve met at the International Trauma Life Support Conference; and to be recognized amongst this talented group is truly an honour.

What do you find most rewarding about your career?

My career as a paramedic is so rewarding because I can have a positive impact. This profession has advanced so much, no doubt in thanks to people like George Eliadis. Paramedics have truly become healthcare clinicians who can use their knowledge and compassion to better treat patients as people. I’ve come to learn that both positivity and negativity are contagious. Career moments like this help me keep a positive outlook on my daily work and I hope that is something I can share with others.

Do you feel your experience at NC has played a role in your career success?

My experience at NC has given me an educational foundation to build from. Like any healthcare profession, we never stop learning. I participated in my first paramedic competition as a Primary Care paramedic student at Niagara College.

Congratulations to Connor McCulloch, recipient of ITLS' inaugural George Eliadis Memorial Award for Individual…

Posted by International Trauma Life Support on Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Ryan Howlett

Graduated from: Primary Care Paramedic (2016)

Hometown/ current city: Niagara Falls

Current position with Niagara EMS: Primary care paramedic

Number of years with Niagara EMS: One-and-a-half years

Award: Second place ITLS Team competition

How do you feel about your award/ why is it meaningful to you:

Competing in the ITLS Team Competition was a great honour and experience and I couldn’t be more proud of the Niagara EMS team. Although we had high hopes of taking the title we were challenged by some great teams from around the world, composed of incredible paramedics. The competition means a lot to me because it gave paramedics the opportunity to showcase our skill set, patient care and knowledge to other health care professionals and members of the public while providing them a glimpse into the challenges we face in the prehospital setting during emergency situations.

What do you find most rewarding about your career?

For me, the most rewarding aspect of being a paramedic is being able to provide a sense of comfort for an individual who may be dealing with one of the worst experiences in their life. Many times we are called for someone who is experiencing excruciating pain and needs medical attention however, at other times it’s just lending a helping hand and having somebody that will listen to them and talk about their life when all else and has failed and they’re not sure where to turn to. Being able to help in these situations every day and make a difference for them is a truly rewarding experience.

Do you feel your experience at NC has played a role in your career success?

The Paramedic program at Niagara College was instrumental in helping me become a Primary Care Paramedic with Niagara EMS. The classes and especially the ride-outs with Paramedic services to provide in field and on the job training were instrumental in preparing me to obtain a career as a paramedic.

Tracey Groszeibl

Graduated from: General Arts and Science, Primary Care Paramedic (2004) and Advance Care Paramedic (2007)

Hometown/ current city: Wainfleet

Position at Niagara EMS: Advanced Care Paramedic

Years at Niagara EMS: 14 years

Award received: Second Place ITLS

How do you feel about your award/ why is it meaningful to you?

It represents our services ongoing commitment to up to date trauma care education.

What do you find most rewarding about your career?

Feeling that I make a difference one person at a time. To be present in a one of the worst moments of a person’s life and potentially providing them some measure of comfort, either physically or emotionally, is an honour we should never take lightly.

Do you feel your experience at NC has played a role in your career success?

I have had the opportunity to help with the education of future paramedics as a lab instructor at the college (as have my team mates).  This, in turn, has kept my skill set sharp which greatly helped in the competition.

Len Kowalik

Graduated from:  Ambulance and Emergency Care Program (1990)

Hometown / current city: Vineland

Current position with Niagara EMS: Training Superintendent.  Part of my portfolio includes overseeing all students riding out with Niagara EMS, ITLS competition coordinator for Niagara EMS, National Paramedic competition coordinator for Niagara EMS, Ongoing training for paramedics, and recruitment.

Years with Niagara EMS: Spent 27 years as a full time paramedic (1990-2000 with St. Catharines District Ambulance, 2000-present with Niagara EMS).

Award: 2nd place in the International Trauma Life Support (ITLS) Competition

How do you feel about your award/ why is it meaningful to you?

The award was a great achievement and meaningful since it continues to keep me current with training and education.

What do you find most rewarding about your career?

The most rewarding about my career are the accomplishments achieved:

-First Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP) for St. Catharines (1997)

-successful in coordinating ITLS winning teams for Niagara EMS 2014/2015/2016/ and 2nd place 2017 which put the Niagara Region and Niagara EMS on the map internationally

-Coordinated the ACP Team which won the National Paramedic Competition in Ottawa 2017

-Coordinated the Team that won Canada’s First Virtual Reality Competition in Stratford 2017

Do you feel your experience at NC has played a role in your career success?

NC has played a vital role in the success of my career since it has given me a good solid foundation for which to build upon.

 

-Info provided by Niagara Emergency Medical Services

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