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For BP students: BIOL121 Human Biological Science 1 AND (PARA107 Paramedic Theory: Trauma Emergencies OR PARA126 Paramedicine Theory: Primary Care )

For BNBP students: BIOL121 Human Biological Science 1 AND (PARA107 Paramedic Theory: Trauma Emergencies OR PARA128 Paramedicine Theory and Practice: Primary )


PARA201 Paramedic Theory: Medical 1

Unit rationale, description and aim

As paramedics assist people who experience a range of medical conditions it is necessary that understand the theory associated with these aetiologies. This unit will introduce students to the essential pathophysiology and theoretical aspects of paramedic management related to medical presentations of illness within the following areas: cardiovascular, respiratory, infectious and immunological processes. Students will learn to use theory to drive their clinical practice and to understand how practice is guided by a continual process of assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation within a clinical decision-making framework. Whilst imploring a clinical decision-making framework. These skills are critical for a paramedic to deliver appropriate patient centred-care. 

The aim of this unit is to assist students to achieve knowledge of the epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical implications, assessment and management of various medical conditions. 

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 aetiologies, epidemiology, pathophysiology, presentations, acuity, risk and management principles of medical presentations in the context of paramedicineGC1, GC9
LO2Analyse medical presentations and the associated management strategies used to provide patient-centred care for medical aetiologies encountered within the scope of paramedicineGC8, GC11
LO3Apply a paramedic decision making framework underpinned by evidence-based management principles in order provide a people-centred care approach for people affected by medical aetiologiesGC2, GC7

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

Domain 2: The communicator and collaborator 


LO1, LO3

Domain 3: The evidence-based practitioner 

3.1, 3.2, 3.3 


Domain 4: The safety and risk management practitioner 

4.1, 4.2 

LO2, LO3

Domain 5: The paramedicine practitioner

 5.2, 5.3, 5.4,5.6 


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

LO1, LO2, LO3

Medication Safety

LO2, LO3

Comprehensive Care

LO2, LO3

Communicating for Safety

LO1, LO2, LO3

Recognising and Responding to Acute Deterioration



Topics will include:

  • Cardiology; 
  • Haematological;  
  • Respiratory; 
  • Infectious, and; 
  • Immunological aetiologies. 

For the selected aetiologies, students will develop an understanding of relevant concepts and skills relating to: 

  • Epidemiology; 
  • Biopsychosocial considerations; 
  • Clinical reasoning; 
  • Pathophysiology and presentations; 
  • Differential diagnosis; 
  • Risks and implications; 
  • Acuity; 
  • Evidence-based practice; 
  • Theoretical management and care concepts; 
  • Associated pharmacotherapy; 
  • Health care systems and pathways, and; 
  • Continuum of care and patient experiences.  

Introduction to Advanced Life Support Care 

  • Advanced Life Support Approach 
  • Cardiac Arrest 
  • Integrating into an Advanced Life Support team 
  • Reversable causes of relevant to medical aetiologies    

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This Unit provides teaching and learning strategies that engage students 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. PARA216, coupled with PARA217 Paramedicine in Practice: Medical 1, will create foundational knowledge of medical conditions and their associated care within the discipline of paramedicine.  

Usually situated in the second year, PARA216 continues to build the  skills of becoming both an independent and social learner. Delivery methods will be multi-modal and comprised of virtual/online environments and face to face workshops.  

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 will 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 students to use the fundamental concepts acquired from online learning, apply analytical thinking, and engage in discussion and group work so they can begin to solve the case-based challenges posed. These challenges are designed with a real-world focus to apply knowledge to relevant clinical contexts. As students progress through the cycle of theory to practice, the online learning and workshops will have a direct relationship to PARA217 practical classes and clinical placement.  

It is expected that students 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 students 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 achieve the unit learning outcomes, attain the graduate attributes and the meet professional capabilities required in paramedicine. With the ethos that assessments support and guide learning, students will see a direct relationship between each task and development.  

The concept map provides students with the opportunity to explore, create and relate concepts identified within the content and studies. It provides a visual representation that outlines and organises knowledge on a given topic, thus providing immediate personal feedback on 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, thus assist in caring for those effected by various aetiologies.  

The written assessment will build on the 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 exam allows students to demonstrate a broad understanding of the knowledge inherent in this unit and its specific application within a professional context, which will direct future practice as a paramedic. These assessments are will build knowledge and skills which, by the conclusion of this programme, will enable the student to graduate as a safe and effective practitioner.    

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 organise and create a knowledge network that will assist in their comprehension of broad complex topics. 



Assessment Task 2: Written Assessment 

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


LO2, LO3

Assessment Task 3: Examination

Enables students to demonstrate broad understanding of the principles, management and care required for medical aetiologies within the paramedicine context. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

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. 

Walraven, G. (2017). Basic arrhythmias. (8th ed.). Pearson: Boston. 

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