To identify factors that affect the education of pre-employment paramedic students during the clinical practicum.Methods
A purposive sampling technique was employed to recruit undergraduate students from the Bachelor of Emergency Health (Paramedic) (BEHP) who had recently completed their first or final clinical placement. Qualitative data was collected via a total of 3 focus group discussions; two focus group discussions were conducted with students on completion of their final placement, and one focus group discussion was conducted with students who had recently completed their first placement. Participants were asked to share their career and placement expectations, placement experiences, career path intentions, and the impact of placements on their career decisions.Results
This paper reports on student perception of education in the clinical environment and their impression of the strengths and weaknesses of this model. We identified four major themes: (1) communication, (2) appropriate placements, (3) capacity building and, (4) adequate preparation for students.Conclusion
The University, ambulance service and students need to form a relationship to foster the quality of clinical education. Each party needs to adequately communicate and prepare for quality learning to occur in placements. Good mechanisms for the identification of problems early, particularly in relation to student support and case load are necessary. Ongoing evaluation of the quality of clinical placement education is required and should include all parties who are also committed to continuous improvement.