Motivating factors influencing student paramedic choice of paramedicine as a career


paramedic student
paramedic science

How to Cite

Weber A, Delport S, Hodgetts A. Motivating factors influencing student paramedic choice of paramedicine as a career. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine [Internet]. 2021Sep.30 [cited 2023Mar.30];18. Available from:



This study aimed to identify and assess the factors, motivations and influences on undergraduate students’ choice of paramedicine for their studies and ultimately a career in paramedicine.


A survey was available to 205 first-year Bachelor of Paramedic Science students to assess background, motivational factors and influences on choosing their undergraduate studies.


The response rate to an online survey distributed to 205 students yielded an almost 25% response rate (n=51). Altruistic factors were the main reason students chose to study for a degree in paramedic science and ultimately a career in paramedicine. Although essential, extrinsic, sociodemographic and interpersonal factors were less motivating factors. Despite other research suggesting media coverage leads to increased student enrolments, the media coverage of paramedics as frontline health professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic and the ‘lights and sirens’ effect of ambulance/paramedic reality television shows as influences were not highly regarded.


The altruistic factors influencing career choices in paramedicine are generally similar across the healthcare industry. In this review, the motivating nature of extrinsic, interpersonal and sociodemographic factors was generally inconclusive. However, these factors may well apply to a university’s initial recruitment strategy and as a factor for ambulance services to consider when identifying the motivating factor of a student paramedic to join the workforce.


Paramedicine Board of Australia. Paramedics, welcome to the National Scheme. 2018.

Australian Government Productivity Commission. Report on Government Services 2021 [Available from:

O’Meara P, Tourle V, Madigan V, Lighton D. Getting in touch with paramedic student career intentions. Health Education Journal. 2011;71(3):376-85.

Australian Industry and Skills Committee. Ambulance and Paramedic [updated 25 November 2020. Available from:

National Rural Health Alliance Ltd. The Paramedic Workforce in Rural, Regional and Remote Australia. 2019.

Sawyer S., Boyle M., S. L. Paramedics have one of Australia’s most dnagerous jobs - and not just because of the trauma they witness. The Conversation. 2020 12 November 2020.

Australian Government Productivity Commission. Report on Government Services 2020, Canberra: Australian Government Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision; 2020 [Available from:

Chapman SA, Blau G, Pred R, Lopez AB. Correlates of intent to leave job and profession for emergency medical technicians and paramedics. Career development international. 2009;14(5):487-503.

Ross L, Hannah J, Van Huizen P. What motivates students to pursue a career in Paramedicine? Australasian journal of paramedicine. 2016;13(1).

Wu LT, Low MMJ, Tan KK, Lopez V, Liaw SY. Why not nursing? A systematic review of factors influencing career choice among healthcare students. Int Nurs Rev. 2015;62(4):547-62.

Willis-Shattuck M, Bidwell P, Thomas S, Wyness L, Blaauw D, Ditlopo P. Motivation and retention of health workers in developing countries: A systematic review. BMC Health Serv Res. 2008;8(1):247-.

Larkins FP. Male Students Remain Underrepresented in Australian Universities. Should Australia be concerned? 2016 2016 [Available from:

Weber A, Delports, S., Oliveri, L., Batt, A M. The future of Australian ambulance services workforce: five-year review of an Australian university’s Paramedic Science graduate demographics. . Paramedicine Research Symposium Melbourne, Australia.2018.

Knox D. “Timeshifted: Thursday 20 February 2020” 2020 [Available from:

Slak B, Erčulj VI, Areh I, Dobovšek B. Do Fictional Forensic and Criminal Investigation Television Shows Influence Students’ Enrollment Decisions? Journal of criminal justice education. 2020;31(1):23-42.

Abrahamson A. Applications Hit Record Highs for U.S. Law Schools: Increase Attributed to Impact of Television Hit ‘L.A. Law’ 1989 [Available from: