School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Leading by example – Meet Scott Ramey

MSc candidate, Health Quality    

by Phil Gaudreau, April 2020

Amy Cleaver

During a critical medical emergency, every second counts. As ambulances fly through traffic, sirens blaring, the first thought is always how to stabilize the patient and get them to the most appropriate care facility as quickly as possible.

But is a hospital the best choice? How do we know? Can appropriate care be delivered then and there, at the site of the emergency?

There hasn’t been a lot of paramedic-led research or critical examinations of whether paramedics are providing the best possible care and integration within the current structure of our healthcare system. Indeed, most of the research relied upon by paramedics in these emergency situations is based on knowledge gleaned in the hospital emergency room.

Scott Ramey is one of a growing number of paramedics who want to change that. This is why Ramey enrolled in the Queen’s Master of Science in Healthcare Quality program.

“Paramedicine is maturing, and one of the big things needed is to have the professionals doing graduate degrees and able to produce research to drive change and patient care based on evidence,” he says.

Ramey speaks from experience. He has worked in paramedicine for 29 years during stints in Toronto, Hamilton, the Northumberland area, and B.C. where he currently resides.

When he sought to upgrade his education, the Queen’s program caught his attention for a few reasons. Its model means most of the work is completed remotely, save for a short residency in Kingston each year, which makes it ideal for students like Ramey.

“The program has met my high expectations, and the professors have all been excellent with a great cross-section of expertise,” Ramey says.

Ramey was also particularly intrigued by the program’s focus on healthcare quality, patient safety, and the study of human factors, which examines how humans interact with the world around them.

“Understanding human factors is a key safety element which helps us understand how to prevent things from going wrong,” he explains.

As part of his studies, Ramey is undertaking several course-specific projects including a personal one which looks at preventative maintenance for biomedical equipment in his own workplace, B.C.’s Provincial Emergency Health Services. The project aims to move the recording of this important work from paper-based forms to a central digital system.

While he completes his course work, Ramey is keeping busy taking advantage of the outdoor lifestyle in B.C. and comparing notes with his children, who are just finishing their undergraduate studies.

“It is a fun challenge being in school at the same time as your kids,” he says. “We’re not quite helping each other with homework but it creates interesting conversations around research and literature. Continuous learning is something I encourage, so enrolling in graduate studies is me leading by example.”

As the first one in his family to undertake a graduate degree, Ramey encourages others thinking about graduate school to dive in and encouraging his kids to one day upgrade their education.

“While the lead up to applying and enrolling can be intense, it’s well worth it once you’re in,” he says.

To learn more about the Master of Science in Healthcare Quality program, and other Queen’s graduate degrees, visit the School of Graduate Studies’ website.