In December 2018 Australian paramedics and the paramedicine discipline became nationally registered under the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Paramedics are now required to register and satisfy registration requirements in order to work as a paramedic. One of the mandatory registration standards is continuing professional development (CPD). This study examines attitudes and perceptions held by Australian paramedics in relation to CPD.
A qualitative research project was undertaken using semi-structured interviews. A purposive snowballing sampling technique was employed to invite paramedics currently working in Australia to participate in telephone-based interviews. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis approach. The transcripts were read several times to determine repeated themes and these themes were then coded by two authors. Data saturation was considered to have occurred after 18 interviews.
Eighteen paramedics responded and were interviewed; 16 of the respondents were male with the majority coming from Victoria. Broadly, four key themes were identified from analysis of the interviews. These included: 1) identification of CPD activities and requirements, 2) motivation, 3) factors influencing choice of activity, and 4) barriers.
There was general acceptance of the need for paramedics to stay up-to-date with current practice. Generally, this was seen as a responsibility of the employer but some individuals made the distinction between employment requirements and professional requirements. We would encourage ongoing research in this area particularly as CPD develops over time for paramedicine in Australia.
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