Mental health education in Australian paramedic curricula – A scoping review

Versions

pdf

Keywords

paramedic
mental health
education.

How to Cite

1.
Smith R, Parent A, Townsend R, Johnston T. Mental health education in Australian paramedic curricula – A scoping review. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine [Internet]. 2020Sep.2 [cited 2020Dec.5];17. Available from: https://ajp.paramedics.org/index.php/ajp/article/view/791

Abstract

Introduction
Mental health represents a growing concern for health services in Australia. Paramedics are increasingly becoming the first point-of-contact for patients experiencing an acute mental health episode. Despite this increasing prevalence of cases there is an established body of literature outlining that paramedics feel inadequately trained to manage these patients.

Aim
This research aimed to identify how the management of acutely unwell mental health patients is included in paramedic curricula in Australia.

Methods
A scoping review methodology was used in association with a thematic analysis of university learning outcomes related to mental health education for Bachelor of Paramedic programs in Australia. It was identified that there are considerable discrepancies between university learning outcomes for mental health education of paramedics.

Discussion
Mental health management of patients is not integrated throughout curricula, with most students only being exposed to mental health education once in their degree usually as a theoretical subject with no specific mental health practice placement. Further, the existence of discrepancies regarding mental health management education between paramedic courses creates an unequal minimum standard of education among graduating paramedic students.

Conclusion
Given the prevalence of mental health cases and the special powers that paramedics have to manage these cases, as well as the fact that mental health does not discriminate between jurisdictions (ie. patients present and should be managed similarly in all states and territories), the authors argue that special consideration by the profession should be given to mandating a consistency in mental health management education across all paramedic Bachelor degree programs.

https://doi.org/10.33151/ajp.17.791
pdf

References

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2015 - Summary report. Canberra: AIHW; 2019.

Jack E, Jadzinski M. An innovation in mental health specialty placements. Journal of Paramedic Practice 2018;10:24-30.

Shaban R. Paramedics’ clinical judgment and mental health assessments in emergency contexts: Research, practice, and tools of the trade. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine 2015;4(2).

Ford-Jones PC, Chaufan C. A critical analysis of debates around mental health calls in the prehospital setting. Inquiry 2017;54:0046958017704608.

McCann TV, Savic M, Ferguson N, et al. Paramedics’ perceptions of their scope of practice in caring for patients with non-medical emergency-related mental health and/or alcohol and other drug problems: a qualitative study. PloS One 2018;13(12).

Roberts L, Henderson J. Paramedic perceptions of their role, education, training and working relationships when attending cases of mental illness. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine 2009;7(3).

Shaban R. Accounting for assessments of mental illness in paramedic practice: a new theoretical framework. ibid. 2015;3(3).

Townsend R, Luck M. Protective jurisdiction, patient autonomy and paramedics: the challenges of applying the NSW Mental Health Act. ibid. 2009;7(4).

Berry M. College of Paramedics evidence into mental health care and policing. Journal of Paramedic Practice 2014;6:539-40.

Cuddeback G, Patterson PD, Moore CG, Brice JH. Utilization of emergency medical transports and hospital admissions among persons with behavioral health conditions. Psychiatr Serv 2010;61:412-5.

Emond K, Furness S, Deacon-Crouch M. Undergraduate paramedic students' perception of mental health using a pre and post questionnaire. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine 2015;12(5).

Hou XY, Rego J, Service M. Paramedic education opportunities and challenges in Australia. Emerg Med Australas 2013;25:114-9.

Rees N, Rapport F, Snooks H. Perceptions of paramedics and emergency staff about the care they provide to people who self-harm: constructivist metasynthesis of the qualitative literature. J Psychosom Res 2015;78:529-35.

Mothibi JD, Jama M, Adefuye AO. Assessing the knowledge of emergency medical care practitioners in the Free State, South Africa, on aspects of pre-hospital management of psychiatric emergencies. Pan Afr Med J 2019;33:132.

Williams B, Onsman A, Brown T. Is the Australian paramedic discipline a full profession? Australasian Journal of Paramedicine 2010;8(1).

Paramedicine Board of Australia. Becoming a registered paramedic 2018. Available at: www.paramedicineboard.gov.au/Registration.aspx

Paramedicine Board of Australia. Qualifications for registration 2018. Available at: www.paramedicineboard.gov.au/Education/Qualifications.aspx

Paramedicine Board of Australia. Accreditation Standards 2020. Available at: www.paramedicineboard.gov.au/Accreditation.aspx

Council of Ambulance Authorities. Guidelines for the assessment and accreditation of entry-level paramedic education program. 2014.

Thomas PA, Kern DE, Hughes MT, Chen BY. Curriculum development for medical education: a six-step approach. JHU Press; 2016.

Arksey H, O'Malley L. Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework. Int J Soc Res Methodol 2005;8:19-32.

Turning Point. Beyond the emergency: a national study of ambulance responses to men’s mental health. Richmond, Victoria. Available at: www.turningpoint.org.au/about-us/news/how-ambulance-records-are-helping-us-tackle-suicide

Johnson M. Paramedic principles and practice ANZ: a clinical reasoning approach. Boyd L, Grantham HJM, Eastwood K, editors. Chatswood, NSW: Elsevier Australia; 2015.

Kaufman DM, Zun L. A quantifiable, brief mental status examination for emergency patients. J Emerg Med 1995;13:449-56.

Paolini A. Enhancing teaching effectiveness and student learning outcomes. Journal of Effective Teaching 2015;15:20-33.

Kuh GD, Jankowski N, Ikenberry SO, Kinzie JL. Knowing what students know and can do: the current state of student learning outcomes assessment in US colleges and universities. National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment Champaign, IL; 2014.

Brauer DG, Ferguson KJ. The integrated curriculum in medical education: AMEE Guide No. 96. Med Teach 2015;37:312-22.