Retrieval Paramedic (RP)

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Other Vocational Titles
Flight Paramedic, Air Ambulance Paramedic, MICA Flight Paramedic, Critical Care Paramedic, Flight ICP, Aero Medical Evacuation Medic (Australian Defence Force)

Other Roles Using This Level of Practice (+additional specialist training)
Rescue Paramedic, Special Casualty Access Team Paramedic

Definition
A Retrieval Paramedic (RP) is an advanced clinical practitioner in Paramedicine who provides medical assessment, treatment and care in the out-of-hospital environment to facilitate the safe and effective transfer of critically unwell patients to a specialist receiving facility.

Education
Pre-requisite:Intensive Care Paramedic (with postgraduate experience)

Specialist Post Graduate Study e.g. Graduate Certificate (RP) or Masters (RP) and an internship program

New Zealandcurrently requires a Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Paramedic Practice or relevant industrial training program.

The Australian Defence Force currently use an internally accredited Rotary Wing &/or Fixed Wing Aero Medical Evacuation (RWAME / FWAME) course to credential for this level.

The New Zealand Defence Force currently uses an internally accredited Fixed and Rotary Wing course to credential for this level.

Operation
RP’s respond to critically unwell patients based on either initial information from an incident scene (referred to as a primary response) or where patients have been assessed by a primary treating clinician (e.g. general practitioner/primary responding ambulance crew) as requiring transfer to a specialist clinical facility.  The role liaises extensively with onsite clinicians and undertakes a specialist clinical assessment and implements a patient management plan to support the safe transfer of these often complex and time critical patients.

The RP is required to make complex and critical clinical judgements often without direct supervision.  Like all other professional levels, individuals are responsible for their own continuing professional development which may be supplemented by any employer provided training.

An RP is usually engaged by a statutory ambulance service or private paramedic/retrieval service and may operate in a variety of settings, such as high acuity inter-hospital transfers or primary and disaster response.

This professional may be deployed as part of a two person crew operating in conjunction with a medical doctor or may operate as a single practitioner.  They may operate from either a road ambulance or aero-medical (fixed or rotary wing) platform settings. RP’s engaged in defence forces may operate in peacetime, disaster and conflict situations either within or outside of specialist AME units or squadrons.

The RP may take professional responsibility for the mentoring and support of other health care professionals both within and outside of Paramedicine.

Scope of Practice

  • Includes intensive care paramedic scope of practice
  • Advanced clinical assessment including interpretation of blood tests and x-rays
  • Specialist clinical management to support the safe transfer of critically injured or ill patients to definitive care
  • Rapid sequence intubation
  • Use of mechanical ventilators and medication administration devices
  • Use of an expanded range of medications relevant to the role