Facilitators, barriers and motivators of paramedic continuing professional development


paramedic education
paramedic continuing professional development (CPD)
lifelong learning (LLL)

How to Cite

Hobbs L, Devenish S, Long D, Tippett V. Facilitators, barriers and motivators of paramedic continuing professional development. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine [Internet]. 2021Jan.3 [cited 2022Jan.25];18. Available from: https://ajp.paramedics.org/index.php/ajp/article/view/857



As registered health professionals, Australian paramedics are required to abide by professional registration standards including the maintenance of continuing professional development (CPD). The broader health literature identifies facilitators, barriers and motivators for engaging in CPD, however the body of knowledge specific to paramedicine is weak. This research seeks to address this gap in the paramedicine body of knowledge.


This study adopts a constructivist grounded theory methodology. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, and analysed using first and second cycle coding techniques. Paramedics from various state-based Australasian ambulance services and private industry (N=10) discussed their experiences specific to their attitudes, perceptions and engagement about CPD.


Paramedic CPD goes beyond the traditional approach to mandatory training. Paramedics are motivated by factors such as modality of delivery, professional expectations, clinical/professional improvement and, sometimes, fear. Facilitators included organisational support, improved clinical knowledge, practitioner confidence, self-directed learning opportunities and perceived relevance of content. Barriers include cost, workload/fatigue, location, rostering, lack of incentive to engage, lack of employer support and technological problems.


By understanding what facilitates or motivates engagement in CPD activities, paramedics can navigate their CPD in conjunction with regulatory requirements. Although paramedics report some similar experiences to other health professionals, there are nuances that appear specific to the discipline of paramedicine. Of interest, a unique finding related to fear influencing paramedic CPD engagement. The results of this study informs paramedic employers and paramedic CPD providers with insights to assist in the development of positive CPD experiences and interactions.



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