Paramedic

Other Vocational Titles

Ambulance Paramedic, Paramedic 3, Advanced Care Paramedic, Intermediate Life Support (ILS) Paramedic,  Australian Defence Force (ADF) –  Medic* or Advanced Medical Technician*, Combat Paramedic (Australian Army), New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) – Medic (Intermediate Life Support  Level)

Other Roles Using This Level of Practice (+additional specialist training)

Underwater Medic (Royal Australian Navy & Australian Army)

Definition

A Paramedic is a health professional who provides rapid response, emergency medical assessment, treatment and care in the out of hospital environment.

Education

Bachelor Degree in Paramedic or Health Science (or equivalent) and completion of an internship program.

The Diploma of Paramedical Science (Ambulance) is still used by some organisations engaging paramedics as the entry qualification for this level. This educational pathway is reducing with a progressive shift to university-based undergraduate or postgraduate education. All major ambulance services across Australia have now made the decision to move to ’entry to practice’ paramedic qualifications via these university programs.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) concurrently trains medics using the Diploma of Paramedical Science (Ambulance) and the Diploma of Nursing (which is required for registration as a Division 2 Nurse with Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)) as part of the ADF Medic Course.

The New Zealand Defence Force currently uses the Diploma of Military Medicine (level 6) for qualification at this level.

Paramedics with overseas registration and qualifications are currently assessed on an individual basis.

Other Requirements

A current unrestricted drivers licence (a general car licence is sufficient in most organisations engaging paramedics).

As paramedics are required to undertake a variety of physical tasks, in some cases over a prolonged period, a suitable level of general health and fitness is required. This level of fitness is prescribed in more detail by individual employers.

Paramedics are required to confirm their suitability to work with vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly via a criminal history check.

Paramedics entering the ADF are required to be Australian citizens.

Paramedics wishing to enlist in the New Zealand Defence Force are required to be residents of New Zealand.

Defence force applicants will be required to attain a security clearance appropriate to their role and assessment of the suitability for a security clearance will occur.  Defence Paramedics must successfully complete basic military training before commencing any advanced clinical training programs or operational practice.

Operation

Paramedics respond to, assess and manage patients, transport them to a health facility for ongoing care if necessary or arrange alternative referral, treatment or care options.  ADF Medics are also responsible for initial primary health care assessments and performing some nursing related roles.

This is the base level professional stream practice in Paramedicine.

The paramedic is often required to make complex and critical clinical judgements without direct supervision.  Individuals are responsible for their own ongoing professional development which may be supplemented by employer-provided training.

A paramedic may be engaged by a statutory ambulance service, private paramedic service, academic/teaching institution or defence force.  They may operate in a variety of community, industrial, resource sector, education, defence or event/public gathering settings.  Paramedics also play a key role in the response phase of major incidents or natural disasters such as bushfires or floods.

Commonly, this professional is deployed as part of a two-person crew and operates from a specially designed ambulance that is equipped with a stretcher and a range of clinical equipment. Some paramedics will operate in a solo response capacity. Paramedics involved in education may work in a variety of roles in the university, vocational education & training (VET) or in-service contexts.

Defence force paramedics deliver out-of-hospital care as solo practitioners and also in team environments alongside other health professionals or a merger of specialties. Paramedics engaged in defence forces provide health care to support and maintain the health and well-being of defence force/allied personnel and civilians in times of conflict, disaster or peacetime.  This may include the delivery of health care within austere environments and on or in a variety of platforms, such as on land (on foot or in-vehicle), aerospace or on ships. They may attend in situations ranging from a controlled environment through to routine and emergency medical management where a paramedical response is required.

The Paramedic may take professional responsibility for the mentoring and support of student and developing paramedics.

Scope of Practice:

  • Australian Resuscitation Council – Intermediate life support including use of supraglottic airway devices e.g. LMA
  • New Zealand intermediate life support as defined by Ambulance Service Sector Standard 8156 & New Zealand National Clinical Guidelines
  • Use of infection control practices relevant to clinical environment
  • Emergency Management of the unconscious patient, cardiac arrest, asthma, anaphylaxis, burns, narcotic overdose, chest pain, acute cardiogenic pulmonary oedema (ACPO), hypoglycaemia, pain control (using narcotics), seizures, traumatic brain injury, spinal injury, abnormalities of ventilation, neurovascular incidents & hypovoleamia
  • Use of a range of medications (S4 and S8)
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring and interpretation
  • Mental health crisis intervention
  • Management of patients across the lifespan including obstetric emergencies and childbirth
  • Use of a stretcher and other patient movement devices
  • Emergency driving
  • Emergency management and triage
  • Extrication and basic rescue
  • Access to a range of patient referral pathways (depending upon local circumstance)
  • *Basic nursing (AHPRA Division 2 Registration)