Paramedic practice in Australia has evolved significantly over the past 20 years. With the expansion of the paramedic scope of practice and absence of registration, there is a need to determine what is known about continuing professional development (CPD) for paramedics.
Selected search terms were entered into three electronic databases to identify relevant publications. Inclusion/exclusion criteria was applied and full texts were reviewed for potential papers. Eight publications were identified as relevant and included in the systematic literature review.
Initial search yield was 875 publications, removal of duplicate articles and application of the inclusion/exclusion criteria to title and abstract reduced this to 20 publications requiring review. This number was further reduced to eight publications, two of which were qualitative studies, a further five were quantitative design and the final study included both quantitative and qualitative data. Seven of the eight publications highlighted the importance of CPD for paramedics. The remaining article did not yield statistically significant data to conclude improved clinical practice or knowledge through the delivery of the educational intervention.
The availability of publications relating to CPD for paramedics is extremely limited. The reviewed publications reported highly variable clinical exposure and infrequent reaccreditation processes which are not currently adequately supplemented by CPD. Among the key findings in the literature was the need for increased CPD to supplement the limited clinical exposure, and for paramedics to take ownership of their own professional development. It is evident that further research into paramedicine and CPD is required.
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