Australasian paramedic attitudes and perceptions about continuing professional development

Hobbs, Lisa Rose ORCID: (2019) Australasian paramedic attitudes and perceptions about continuing professional development. Coursework Masters thesis, Queensland University of Technology. (Unpublished)


The paramedic role is rapidly evolving commensurate with the emergence of the paramedic profession. Historically, the model of continuing professional development (CPD) rested solely with the completion of mandatory programs required to facilitate changes in scope of practice or policy. These mandatory programs were developed within services and were specific to the individual workforce. The evolution of paramedic education and CPD has progressed parallel to the role of a paramedic, moving away from an in-house apprenticeship style of vocational training to a model of tertiary education.

Professional registration of Australasian paramedics commenced 1st December 2018, through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). The
registration date for New Zealand Paramedics is not yet confirmed. Like existing registered health professionals, paramedics will be required to adhere to common professional registration standards including participation in and, the maintenance of CPD. However, a gap in the literature exists in relation to paramedic attitudes and engagement in CPD opportunities.

This study applied the CPD framework proposed by Kennedy (2014); a model of professional development plan (PDP); and the CPD framework proposed by Filipe, Golnik & Mack (2018) to existing paramedic literature and participant paramedics. This study, which was qualitative in its focus, was guided by constructivist grounded theory methodology as proposed by Kathy Charmaz (2014). Constructivist grounded theory is a robust methodology which has been utilised successfully in numerous studies within the fields of nursing, education and psychology (Mills, Bonner & Francis, 2006). Furthermore, the reflexivity of the researcher as a paramedic, senior clinical educator, officer-in-charge and academic supports the Constructivist Grounded Theory methodology and adds to the validity of this research.

Qualified, working paramedics (N=10) from Australia and New Zealand were interviewed for this study. The study participants completed their paramedic qualification either through post-employment in-house Vocational Education and Training (VET) or completed a pre-employment university degree. Participants had worked as a paramedic for a period ranging from two to 31. Thus, a number of different enculturation factors were encountered by participants, and they had varied
experiences with CPD. The differences in experiences provides a rich view of the Australasian paramedic demographic.

The research study enabled the creation of a new framework of paramedic CPD, which includes CPD models; Professional Development Plans (PDP); reflective
practices; and Lifelong Learning (LLL). The framework acknowledges professional, industrial, social, personal, political, organisational and economic factors which
influence or change engagement in CPD. The study found it is not a considerable step up for paramedics to engage in CPD and LLL, although some older paramedics are expressing fear about it; and education is now forming a new hierarchical stigmatisation, demonstrating a shift in paramedic culture.

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Item Type: Thesis (Non-Research) (Coursework Masters)
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Supervisors: Devenish, Scott; Tippett, Vivienne; Long, David
Qualification: Master of Philosophy
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2020 02:17
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2023 04:27
Uncontrolled Keywords: ambulance; ambulance education; compliance training; continuing professional development; lifelong learning; mandatory training; paramedic; paramedic training; professional development
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1199 Other Medical and Health Sciences > 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4299 Other health sciences > 429999 Other health sciences not elsewhere classified
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