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Unit rationale, description and aim

Paramedics make decisions that affect people, family and communities, therefore it is important that the student develops a foundation in clinical-decision making and people-centred care. To develop these skills, PARA115 will provide a foundational framework of a paramedic's approach to providing people-centred care. Using case-based learning, students will acquire and experiment with the fundamental knowledge and skills used in paramedicine. The student will learn about the role of a paramedic and the health care system, the foundations of a clinical decision-making framework, introductory paramedicine skills, and begin to distinguish between wellness and illness. This will aid student in initial development of both intuitive and analytical decision making within an appropriate paramedicine framework to provide people-centred care, of which students will reflect upon.

The aim of this unit is to provide an introduction to paramedicine and the basic foundations of technical, social and cognitive skills that will be utilised with the students every interaction as a paramedic.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Outline the roles, responsibilities, environments and risks of paramedic practice within the Australian health care systemGC1, GC3
LO2Discuss the use of a paramedic clinical decision-making framework with consideration to legal and ethical principles inherent in paramedicine whilst maintaining people-centred careGC7, GC8
LO3Apply a safe foundational paramedic decision making framework, incorporating basic clinical assessments and social and reasoning skills to distinguish between wellness and illnessGC2, GC7
LO4Reflect on the application of a safe foundational paramedic decision-making framework that incorporates basic clinical assessments and social and reasoning skills to distinguish between wellness and illnessGC3

Professional Capabilities for a Registered Paramedic

The Paramedicine Board of Australia is responsible for assessing, consulting on and setting the standards for paramedics practicing in Australia. These standards and relevant domains are articulated in the Professional Capabilities for a Registered Paramedic document. The learning outcomes of this unit are matched to the relevant capabilities, in order to align your development with the requirements of a paramedic.  

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

Domain 1: The professional and ethical practitioner 

1.1, 1.2, 1.3 , 1.4

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Domain 2: The communicator and collaborator 

2.1, 2.2 

LO1, LO3 

Domain 3: The evidence-based practitioner 

3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Domain 4: The safety and risk management practitioner 

4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.6 

LO1, LO3, LO4

Domain 5: The paramedicine practitioner

5.2, 5.4, 5.6

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (Second Edition)

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care Standards developed in this unit are:

Standards/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

Clinical Governance

LO1, LO2, LO3

Partnering with Consumers

LO2, LO3

Preventing and Controlling Healthcare-Associated Infection


Comprehensive Care


Communicating for Safety

LO2, LO3

Blood Management



Topics will include: 

  • Paramedicine and the Health Care Systems 
  • Australian Health Care System overview 
  • Paramedic's roles in health care delivery 
  • Introduction to interdisciplinary care 
  • Paramedic environments 
  • Basic legal and ethical concepts 
  • Introduction to professionalism 
  • Paramedicine, Reasoning and Cognition 
  • Scope of Practice 
  • Risks 
  • Principles of biopsychosocial model and approach 
  • Paramedic clinical decision-making framework 
  • Reasoning used in health care 
  • Introduction to human factors 
  • Situational awareness 
  • Acuity and time criticality 
  • Paramedicine and Assessments 
  • Principles of wellness and illness 
  • Information gathering techniques 
  • Clinical, social and environmental assessments 
  • Mechanism of injury 
  • Infection risks and control 
  • Paramedicine and Patient Experiences 
  • Patient dignity and comfort 
  • Applied therapeutic and inter-professional communication 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit fosters student-centred active learning and accommodates diverse student needs. Teaching and learning strategies that engage the student with materials, concepts and experiences that will support achievement of the aims and objectives of the Unit as well as relevant Graduate Attributes and professional capabilities.

Online learning will assist in acquiring the fundamental theoretical concepts necessary for paramedicine. The information, delivery and exercises will be constructed in digestible portions which will allow for ease of understanding, flexibility and respect for individual learning styles. As students begin to apply the concepts in the subsequent workshops, it is expected that they will have completed the online learnings before attending the face-to-face component.  

The workshops will allow the use of the fundamental concepts acquired from online learning, to engage in discussion and group work so students can begin to solve the case-based challenges posed. These challenges are designed with a real-world focus to apply knowledge to relevant contexts.  

Practical classes will allow students to experiment and apply concepts developed during online, lectures and tutorials. Cases and management plans discussed and created in the aforementioned will be further explored and refined by providing the opportunity to develop and enact skills, paramedic clinical decision making, communication strategies and attributes of teamwork. Varying levels of realism will engage senses to advance psychomotor, emotional, social and cognitive skills. Within the practical class environment, methods of learning may include skills stations, role-play, facilitated scenarios and simulations, peer-to-peer learning, audio and visual practice recordings analysis, and/or structured feedback and debriefs. 

As the practice of paramedicine relies heavily on social interaction and cooperation, it is expected that students will emulate this within the learning environments. Early and additional feedback on learning, and tailored support, are provided to facilitate students’ transition to university

It is expected that the student will undertake a total 150 hours of study for this unit. The hours will comprise of the face-to-face methods, online learning and self-directed study in which student will engage with a range of online resources, readings, and prepare for and/or undertake assessments.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment items consistent with University assessment requirements and policy will be used to ensure students achieves the unit learning outcomes, attain the graduate attributes and meet the professional capabilities required in paramedicine. With the ethos that assessments support and guide learning, students will see a direct relationship between each task and student development. 

The concept map provides the opportunity to explore, create and relate concepts identified within the content and student studies. It provides students with a visual representation that outlines knowledge on a given topic, thus providing immediate personal feedback on student learning. It will also provide the basis for future assessment tasks within this unit and others. Ultimately, it will support clinical reasoning and decision-making development, therefore assist in caring for those effected by various aetiologies.  

The written assessment will build on previous assessment by further assimilating and analysing key concepts pertinent within paramedicine. It’s context will be centred around real-world problems to provide a deeper understanding of the profession and practice, while developing communication and critical thinking skills. This enables students to create knowledge and solutions that will be directly relatable to paramedicine. 

The practice portfolio will enable students to showcase and reflect on practice throughout the unit. Authentic tasks and requirements within the practice portfolio with be targeted to the learning outcomes of the unit and stage of development. The practice portfolio will provide a strong foundation for further practice units and maximise clinical experience.  

To pass the unit, students must demonstrate that they have achieved each learning outcome and obtained a total mark of 50% in the unit as the minimum standard.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Concept Map 

Enables students to visually identify and create a knowledge network that will assist in comprehension of broad complex topics.  



Assessment Task 2: Written Assessment 

Provides students with the opportunity to begin to identify real-world problems and articulate basic solutions while supporting development of academic communication and critical thinking skills. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 3: Practice Portfolio 

Provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate and reflect on the application of skills and decisions. 


LO2, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Bryant, B., & Knights, K. (2015). Pharmacology for health professionals (5th ed). Chatswood, NSW: Elsevier Australia. 

Bullock, S., & Hales, M., (2018) Principles of Pathophysiology (2nd ed.). Melbourne, VIC: Pearson Australia. 

Curtis, K., & Ramsden, C. (2019). Emergency and trauma care for nurses and paramedics (3rd ed.). Chatswood, NSW: Elsevier Australia. 

Hall, J.E., (2015). Guyton And Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology. (13th ed.). Chatswood, NSW: Elsevier. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier. 

Talley, N.J. & O’Connor, S. (2018). Talley & O’Connor’s Clinical Examination. (8th ed.). Volumes 1 and 2. Chatswood, NSW: Elsevier. 

Tortora, G., & Derrickson, B. (2016). Principles of anatomy and physiology (15th ed). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley and Sons. 

Townsend, R., & Luck, M. (2019). Applied paramedic law and ethics (2nd ed.). Australia and New Zealand. Sydney: Elsevier. 

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