Paramedicine is at a critical juncture in its history as a healthcare profession. The evolution of paramedic practice in Australia over recent decades has culminated in its inclusion as a nationally registered, accredited, healthcare profession, while similar development is also occurring worldwide. Although paramedic education has developed over time, it is now the moment to determine whether existing educational approaches can adequately support its ongoing evolution as a profession. This article shares findings of a systematic, integrative review of characteristics of professions, allied health education and paramedic education literature.
Due to too little current research on approaches to paramedic education, the review aimed to distil essential requirements of professional education in general, and paramedic education in particular. This distillation served as an initial point of comparison with existing educational approaches in paramedicine. Literature was iteratively searched using PubMed, ScienceDirect and EBSCOhost megafile ultimate search engines, and was complemented with manual searches via professional networks, reference searches and Google Scholar.
The literature review highlighted consistent themes relevant to paramedic education such as, the socio-political definition of a profession, methods for the identification of a profession, paramedicine as a distinct healthcare profession and the contemporary paramedic education framework.
Based on findings from this integrative review, we conclude that there is a potential misalignment between existing paramedic curricula and the educational scaffolding required to develop practicing paramedic professionals. We recommend further investigation of this potential misalignment as part of conceptualising an effective, quality, educational framework that is fit-for-purpose.
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