Research Agenda

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The PA Board has identified three streams of research that it feels are of significant importance to improve the underpinning scientific knowledge of the paramedicine profession. These are:

  • Paramedic education
  • Clinical efficacy
  • Professionalism

Paramedic education

This may include the design, delivery and review of all aspects of the development of the paramedic.

Suggestions for investigation:

  • Road readiness: How is it achieved? Is it required? How does the graduate transition to a competent paramedic from novice?
  • Simulation: Impact of simulation fidelity? Scenario versus simulation? Role of simulation in preparing paramedics for practice?
  • Clinical placements: How are these optimised? What impact do they have for participants? What impact do they have on participants? How are student impacts managed, e.g. from stress management perspective? How many placements are required? Where and how should placements occur? How is role modelling on placements supported by practitioners to optimise student participation and development?
  • Inter-professional transfer: Describing and optimising the transition of registered nurse to paramedic and vice versa.
  • Assessment: How should paramedics be assessed? Do different modalities suit different academic and development levels of the practitioner?
  • Online learning: Does this have a role in paramedic education?
  • Teaching: What are the characteristics of the optimal educator in paramedicine? Does this differ from the undergraduate and in-service education roles? What are the ‘best’ teaching methods for paramedic students? How does the traditional VET models compare to undergraduate and postgraduate education models? How much skills practice does it take to develop automaticity in psychomotor skills? What are the implications and results of paramedic students both studying overseas or coming from overseas to study in Australia? How do we optimise the development of overseas paramedic students?
  • Social sciences: What roles do the social sciences have in paramedic development and practice?
  • Volunteers: How is education of volunteers optimised?
  • Health education: What is the role of the paramedic practitioner in broader health education?

Clinical efficacy

This may include the evaluation of out-of-hospital clinical procedures and pharmacology and their impact on patient outcome as a function of engagement in primary health care and avoidance of presentation to ED, length of stay in ED, length of stay in ICU, impact on in-hospital treatment due to out-of-hospital interventions, survival to discharge, impact on morbidity post discharge, patient experience and satisfaction and impact on other clinical modalities.

Suggestions for investigation:

  • EMS: Why do the community use EMS? Who uses EMS?
  • Clinical procedures: What is the real impact of basic and advanced clinical procedures on patient outcome? How does the practitioner’s perspective of patient outcome compare to that described in the clinical literature?
  • Medications: What is the real impact of drug therapy on patient outcome? How does the practitioner’s perspective of patient outcomes compare to that described in the clinical literature?
  • Cardiac arrest: What makes the difference? Should this area of practice have the focus that it does in paramedic education? What is done well and what could be improved? What role could paramedicine have in providing leadership in this area of resuscitation?


This may include the consideration of the various issues facing the emergence of the developing professional culture in paramedicine and consider issues such as the challenges and responsibility changes for the practitioner and providers as well as addressing the issues of professional regulation and registration.

Suggestions for investigation:

  • Primary health care: What is the role of the paramedic in primary health care?
  • Definition of scope: What is pre-hospital care? Who is the primary stakeholder to drive change in this arena? Traditional versus contemporary evaluation of EMS and pre-hospital care? Who are the stakeholders in defining scope of practice? How should the profession engage with all stakeholders and consumers when considering scope of practice?
  • Regulation: Should the industry be regulated? What role should the practitioner have in determining the regulatory framework? What role should employers have in determining any regulatory framework? How will the profession manage the industrial issues that will arise with registration and/or regulation?
  • Cultural transition: How is the practitioner and profession navigating the transition from a traditional trade/apprenticeship model to an undergraduate professional model? How does the paramedic journey parallel others who have made this transition?
  • Practice: What is paramedic practice? Who should determine paramedic practice? Who should be responsible for professional, ethical and clinical standards of practitioners? What is the effect of hyper-vigilance on paramedic attitudes to patient care? What are the influences and effects of multiculturalism in practice? What is Authority to Practice? What are the local, state, national and international influences both on paramedic practice and profession? What is work/life balance in paramedicine? What is the impact of shift work on the practitioner in EMS? What is the impact of a work injury on the practitioner in EMS?
  • Service delivery: What are sustainable models of service delivery? How does /should paramedicine engage with special communities? How does urban, rural and remote paramedic practice differ? What are the drivers for this difference?

These suggestions are not meant to be an exhaustive list of points for consideration, but rather a series of descriptive themes as a means to direct or create a genesis of ideas for further enquiry.