Internationally, emergency ambulance paramedic education has evolved from ‘on the job’ training by ambulance services to tertiary-level qualifications. However, across many countries and jurisdictions, clinical practicum requirements still differ substantially. For example, Australian paramedic students spend fewer hours on clinical practicum than their United Kingdom (UK) counterparts.
Fifteen semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with Australian and UK paramedics and managers to identify their perceptions regarding the preparedness of graduate paramedics for practice.
Interviewees in Australia and the UK identified that newly graduated paramedics require an internship period before independent practice. Interviewees in both jurisdictions recognised the robust theoretical knowledge and practical skills of graduates. Organisational operations, clinical judgement and decision-making, and care-pathway selection were areas where interviewees identified that an internship period consolidated the graduate’s learning.
This research found that increased time spent by paramedic students on ambulances did not increase a new graduate’s ability to practice independently before an internship period. The time spent on ambulance practicums, objectives and supervisory model should be reviewed.
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