This paper examines the issues that affect the quality of paramedic student clinical placements. Participants included paramedics, paramedic educators, paramedic students and ambulance service managers who had gathered for an Australian conference in Bendigo in central Victoria. The aim of this paper is to highlight issues identified by the participants and to start a conversation about the importance of clinical placement for paramedic students.
This was a qualitative study utilising ‘Community conversations’ as a research methodology. ‘Community conversations’ is an action research approach. This study had 53 participants, who spent around 5 hours in conversation throughout a 3-day conference. The conversation initiated was to discuss and raise issues that related to paramedic student clinical placements, and identify creative and innovative solutions.
In this paper, we focus on three themes that emerged from the conversations: planning and preparation of the placement; continuity of placement experience; and diversity of placements. We argue that better communication is required between the university, the ambulance service, the paramedic educator/clinical instructor and the student.
Clinical education is an essential element of student learning and skill development, yet in Australia there are no mandatory requirements in relation to duration, content or measurement of quality in student clinical placements. We strongly recommend that continuity is an essential element of a quality clinical placement and argue that students should be allocated to work in one location for 1–2 week blocks.
Waxman A, Williams B. Paramedic pre-employment education and the concerns of our future: What are our expectations? Journal of Emergency Primary Health Care 2006;4(4):1–10.
Joyce CM, Wainer J, Archer F, Wyatt A, Pitermann L. Trends in the paramedic workforce: a profession in transition. Aust Health Rev 2009;33(4):533–40.
CAA. Guidelines for the assessment and accreditation of entry-level paramedic education programs. Council of Ambulance Authorities, 2010.
Hou X-Y, Rego J, Service M. Paramedic education opportunities and challenges in Australia. Emerg Med Australas 2013;25(2)113–9.
Lord B, McCall L, Wray N. Factors affecting the education of pre-employment paramedic students during the clinical practicum. Journal of Emergency Primary Health Care 2012;7(4).
Cloutier A, Shandro G, Hrycak N. The synergy of clinical placements. Can Nurse 2004;100(3):10–1.
Gallagher P, Carr L, Wang S-H, Fudakowski Z. Simple truths from medical students: perspectives on the quality of clinical learning environments. Med Teach 2012;34(5):e332–7.
Hodgetts S, Hollis V, Triska O, Dennis S, Madill H, Taylor E. Occupational therapy students' and graduates' satisfaction with professional education and preparedness for practice. Can J Occup Ther 2007;74(3):148–60.
Boyle M, Williams B, Burgess S. Contemporary simulation education for undergraduate paramedic students. Emerg Med J 2007;24(12):854–7.
Williams B, Brown T, Archer F. Can DVD simulations provide an effective alternative for paramedic clinical placement education? Emerg Med J 2009;26(5):377–81.
Watson K, Wright A, Morris N, et al. Can simulation replace part of clinical time? Two parallel randomised controlled trials. Med Educ 2012;46(7):657–67.
Patton N, Higgs J, Smith M. Using theories of learning in workplaces to enhance physiotherapy clinical education. Physiother Theory Pract 2013;29(7):1–11.
Hays R. Utilisation of the healthcare system for authentic early experience placements. Rural Remote Health 2013;13(2):(2328).
Siggins Miller Consultants. Promoting Quality in Clinical Placements: Literature review and national stakeholder consultation. Adelaide: Health Workforce Australia, 2012.
Neill N, Mulholland G. Student placement – structure, skills and e-support. Education + Training 2003;45(2):89–99.
Boyd L. Strategic directions to enhance clinical placements with in primary health care. Prim Health Care 2012;2(1).
Williams B, Brown T, Winship C. The mismatch between perceived and preferred expectations of undergraduate paramedic students. Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice 2012;10(4):8.
Health and Care Professionals Council. Standards of education and training guidance. London, UK: Health and Care Professionals Council, 2012.
Association of Ambulance Chief Executives. Taking Healthcare to the Patient 2: A review of 6 years’ progress and recommendations for the future. UK: 2011.
Health and Care Professionals Council. Standards of education and training. London, UK: Health and Care Professionals Council, 2012.
Brown J, Isaacs D. The World Café. San Francisco, California: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2005.
Fouché C, Light G. An invitation to dialogue: ‘the World Café’ in social work research. Qual Soc Work 2011;10(1):28–48.
Reason P, Bradbury H, editors. The SAGE handbook of action research: Participative inquiry and practice. London: Sage, 2008.
Minkler M, Wallerstein N, editors. Community-based participatory research for health: from process to outcomes. 2nd edn. San Francisco: California: Jossey-Bass, 2008.
Cooperrider D, Whitney D, Stavros J. Appreciative Inquiry Handbook: For leaders of change. 2nd edn. Brunswick, Ohio: Crown Custom Publishing, Inc, 2008.
Wenger E. Communities of practice: learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Beyer KM, Comstock S, Seagren R. Disease maps as context for community mapping: a methodological approach for linking confidential health information with local geographical knowledge for community health research. J Community Health 2010;35(6):635–44.
Moulton P, Miller M, Offutt S, Gibbens B. Identifying rural health care needs using community conversations. Journal Rural Health 2007;23(1):92–6.
Carson L. Designing a public conversation using the World Café method. Social Alternatives 2011;30(1):10–4.
Tan S, Brown J. The World Café in Singapore: creating a learning culture through dialogue. J Appl Behav Sci 2005;41(1):83–90.
UNDP. Upscaling community conversations in Ethiopia. Unleashing capacities of communities for the HIV/AIDS response. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: United Nations Development Programme, 2004.
UNDP. Leadership for Results. UNDP's response to HIV/AIDS. New York: United Nations Development Programme, 2005.
Stone-Resneck D. Community conversations. Melbourne: Indigenous Leadership Network, Victoria, 2010.
Marinova D, Lozeva S, Seemann K. Community conversations for sustainability in the desert: Leonora, Western Australia. Journal of Economic and Social Policy 2010;13(2).
La Trobe University. Clinical Placement Companion. In: La Trobe University, editor. Bendigo, Australia, 2012.
Ambulance Victoria. University Paramedic Student Clinical Placement Booklet. Victoria, Australia, 2013.
Tuckman B. Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychol Bull 1965;63(6):384–99.
Mezirow J. Transformative learning as discourse. Journal of Transformative Education 2003;1(1):58–63.
Billett S. Critiquing workplace learning discourses: participation and continuity at work. Studies in the Education of Adults 2002;34(1):56–67.
Billett S. Workplace participatory practices: conceptualising workplaces as learning environments. Journal of Workplace Learning 2004;16(6):312–24.