This study explores the career intentions of undergraduate university paramedic students. Other like studies have been completed before paramedicine registration, and this is the first career intentions study to focus on the Queensland perspective.
Second year Queensland University of Technology (QUT) undergraduate paramedic students (n=182) were invited to participate. Ethics approval was gained and consent to participate was implied by the completion of a mixed methods questionnaire developed from the extant literature. Data were coded and analysed using Stata 15.1 and NVIVO 12.
The response rate was 47.3% (n=86). Findings indicated 82.35% of participants intend to pursue paramedic employment after graduating. Queensland Ambulance Service is the preferred choice of employer (78.05%), however 67.07% intended to apply to multiple services for employment, 62.2% are considering private industry employment and 59.76% are contemplating overseas work. Intended paramedicine career length revealed 39.5% of participants plan to work for 20 years or more, 29% for 6–10 years and 18.4% for 11–15 years. Qualitative findings suggest students are concerned about employment opportunities, dislocation from support networks, and feeling unprepared to work in other paramedic jurisdictions. Furthermore, the employer’s reputation, culture, internship program and career development opportunities impact on employment decisions.
The paramedic landscape in Australia appears to be changing. Although the majority of participants intend to work for jurisdictional ambulance services, students are exploring a range of employment opportunities. Understanding the career intentions of undergraduate paramedic students is essential for universities when preparing students for the transition to a globally evolving profession.
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