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PARA201 Paramedic Theory: Medical 1 OR PARA216 Paramedicine Theory: Medical 1


PARA301 Paramedic Theory: Population Variances

Unit rationale, description and aim

Paramedics encounter situations and problems that require expedient, insightful and competent decision making to achieve optimal outcomes for people and communities. This unit will introduce students to the theoretical aspects of biopsychosocial approach and paramedic care principles for a range of life span variations, whose presentations, needs and management vary from the general population. The number of older adults being attended to within the community is increasing exponentially and as such it is imperative that students understand the complex and varying risks associated with this demographic along with the unique biopsychosocial circumstances that impact their care of the older adult.  While the number of gynaecological, obstetric, newborn, and paediatric emergencies are small, the acuity in such cases can be high and complex. This unit ensures students’ development in the knowledge and skills to manage common illness / injuries that are encountered across a life span including the reproductive emergencies, birthing process, pre and post-partum care along with consideration to the paediatric patient and older adult. This content will be complimented by the unit PARA317 Paramedic Care in Practice: Lifespan Health which facilitates the application of this knowledge in a clinical context.       

The aim of this unit is to assist students to achieve an advanced knowledge of lifespan variations and the common primary, urgent and emergency presentations these populations encounter to ensure the optimal outcomes for people and communities.   

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 epidemiology, pathophysiology, implications, acuity, assessment, experiences and management of health across the lifespan within the context of paramedicineGC1, GC9
LO2Evaluate evidence-based practice principles and appropriate health care pathways that encompasses a biopsychosocial approach to lifespan health care that is within the scope of paramedicineGC8, GC10
LO3Apply a paramedic decision-making framework underpinned by evidence-based practice principles in order provide a people-centred careGC2, 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 


LO1, LO3

Domain 2: The communicator and collaborator 


LO1, LO2

Domain 3: The evidence-based practitioner 

3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 

LO2, LO3

Domain 4: The safety and risk management practitioner 



Domain 5: The paramedicine practitioner

5.2, 5.3 


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

Medication Safety

LO1, LO2, LO3

Comprehensive Care

LO1, LO2, LO3

Communicating for Safety

LO1, LO3

Recognising and Responding to Acute Deterioration



Topics will include:

  • The older adult 
  • Reproductive systems 
  • Obstetrics 
  • Neonatal 
  • Paediatrics

 For the selected lifespans and health aetiologies within the context of paramedicine, students will develop an understanding of relevant concepts and skills relating to: 

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

 Continuation of Advanced Life Support approach and cardiac arrest for a range of lifespans 

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. PARA316, coupled with PARA317 Lifespan Health, develop students’ understanding and approach necessary for patient centred care across a lifespan. 

Usually situated in the third year, PARA316 continues to build students’ 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 students 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 students to use the fundamental concepts acquired from online learning, apply analytical thinking, and 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 students’ 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 PARA317 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 their development.  

The conditions table provides students with the opportunity to explore, create and understand content within this unit. It provides the opportunity to develop a comparison table that outlines and organises students’ 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 digital media task will build on previous assessment by further assimilating and analysing key concepts pertinent within paramedicine. Its context will be centred around real-world problems to provide a deeper understanding of the profession and practice, while developing students’ skills within the digital environment. This enables students to create knowledge and solutions that will be directly relatable to paramedicine. 

The exam allows students to showcase 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 will build student's knowledge and skills which, by the conclusion of this programme, will enable students 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: Conditions Table

Enables students to organise and develop knowledge of medical conditions that will assist in the comprehension of broad complex topics.



Assessment Task 2: Digital Media Task 

Facilitates students’ development in contemporary academic and communication methods, while developing pertinent knowledge for practice.  


LO2, LO3

Assessment Task 3: Exam 

Enables students to demonstrate a broad understanding of the principles, management and care required for lifespan health 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. 

Weiner, G.M., Zaichkin, J., & Kattwinkel, J. (Eds.). (2016). Textbook of neonatal resuscitation (7th ed.). Elks Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Paediatrics. 

Samuels, M., & Wieteska, S. (Eds). (2017). Advanced paediatric life support: A practical approach to emergencies (4th Aust. NZ ed.). Chichester, West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons Inc. 

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