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(PARA201 Paramedic Theory: Medical 1 OR PARA216 Paramedicine Theory: Medical 1 ) AND (PARA202 Paramedic Practice: Medical 1 OR PARA217 Paramedicine in Practice: Medical 1 )

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 and practical 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 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. Students will begin to apply individualised management plans for populations across the lifespan and will begin to apply the theory and a clinical decision-making framework both in the practical laboratory environment and during clinical placement. Skills developed in this unit assist students to start building an understanding of paramedic management of groups whose presentations, needs and management vary from the general population.  

The aim of this unit is to assist students to achieve an advanced knowledge of the common primary, urgent and emergency lifespan health presentations and apply paramedicine care principles, including culturally safe care, to support 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 aetiologies, epidemiology, pathophysiology, presentations, clinical assessments, implications and management principles for injuries and illness 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
LO3Integrate appropriate clinical assessments, culturally safe therapeutic, social and cognitive skills into a paramedic decision making framework in order to assist people affected by illnesses and injuries across the lifespan within the context of clinical paramedicineGC2, GC4, GC7
LO4Evaluate the application of a paramedic decision making framework, therapeutic skills and professionalism in the practice environmentGC1, GC12

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 Paramedicdocument. 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 

LO1, LO2. LO3, LO4  

Domain 2: The communicator and collaborator 

2.1. 2.2 

LO1, LO3. LO4  

Domain 3: The evidence-based practitioner 

3.1. 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 

L02, LO3, LO4  

Domain 4: The safety and risk management practitioner 

4.1, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6 

LO1, LO2, LO3  

Domain 5: The paramedicine practitioner

5.3, 5.4, 5.6 

LO2, LO3  

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 health considerations of: 

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

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

Theory and Approaches 

  • People-centred care for lifespan health; 
  • Epidemiology; 
  • Biopsychosocial considerations; 
  • Developmental considerations; 
  • Pathophysiology and presentations; 
  • Risks and implications; 

Reasoning and Cognition 

  • Clinical decision-making and reasoning; 
  • Focused clinical assessments; 
  • Differential diagnosis; 
  • Acuity; 
  • Theoretical management and care concepts; 

Applied Care 

  • Development and application of management and care principles; 
  • Selected therapeutic and social skills; 
  • Applied pharmacotherapy; 
  • Interdisciplinary and team-based care; 
  • Health care and referral pathways; 
  • Debrief, reflection and evaluation, and; 
  • Advanced Life Support approach and cardiac arrest for associated life-span health presentations 

 Experiences and Outcomes 

  • The individual’s experience of selected life-span health and interactions with health care, including Indigenous and First People’s perspectives; 
  • Debrief, reflection and evaluation. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

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 will begin to apply the concepts in the subsequent workshops, it is expected that students 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 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 PARA318 practical classes and clinical placement.  

Practical classes will allow students to experiment with concepts developed during this unit. Cases and management plans discussed and created in workshopswill be further explored and refined by providing students with the opportunity to develop and enact skills, paramedic clinical decision making, communication strategies and attributes of teamwork. Varying levels of realism will engage students 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.     

To extend students’ leaning, they will have the opportunity to explore and apply knowledge and skills of paramedicine in the real-world environment. A total of 80 hours of supervised clinical placement will be provided within an appropriate emergency, urgent care, primary health care, simulated or another relevant environment.  The supervised and facilitated clinical placement provides a safe environment where students can provide People-centred  care which is essential for successful practice within paramedicine. Clinical placement experience will enable students to reflect on practice and the principles of paramedicine.  

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 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 their future practice as a paramedic. 

The written assessment will build on students’ previous assessment by further assimilating and analysing key concepts pertinent within paramedicine. It’s context will be centred around real-world problems to 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 and Work Integrated Learning (WIL) portfolios in this unit are hurdle requirements. These hurdle tasks assess knowledge that is essential to the unit of study that the student cannot progress in the course if a pass is not achieved for each task.

The Work Integrated Learning (WIL) portfolio allows an opportunity for students to document clinical placement experience, receive feedback and develop good record management skills. This is imperative for students to achieve as a registered paramedic. Furthermore, reflection is a cornerstone attribute of a health professional. Thus, the associated reflection gives students the opportunity to reflect and subsequently develop their application of decision-making skills, therapeutic skills and professionalism within a real-world environment.   

Given the nature of paramedicine and its associated risks, it is pertinent that students can demonstrate that they are fit and safe to practice within in the clinical practice environment. 

The skills book will form part of a practice portfolio and will allow students to showcase their learning experiences in a professional manner ensuring that documentation meets critical reflection required to meet the Professional Capabilities for Registered Paramedics.

Additionally, it is a requirement that the paramedic student demonstrates professional competence and as such achieving a pass standard for the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) is mandatory. Additionally, the OSCE provides the opportunity for feedback and development prior to future clinical experiences. 

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 students’ 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 are required to submit/undertake all assessment tasks, demonstrate that they have achieved each learning outcome and gain an aggregate mark of 50% within the written assessment and exam. In addition, students must successfully complete the hurdle task assessment(s) to pass the unit.

Assessment Task 3 is an ungraded hurdle task. Students must demonstrate they have met the learning outcomes associated with their clinical placement experience and are allowed unlimited attempts to submit a satisfactory WIL portfolio and skills book. The OSCE component has a maximum of two attempts.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Examination

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


LO1, LO2

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. 


LO1, LO2

Assessment Task 3: Practice and Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Portfolio (Ungraded Hurdle)

Enables students to demonstrate and reflect on their competency and incorporation of culturally safe care, therapeutic, psychomotor, social and cognitive skills into paramedicine to address presenting challenges in the practice and clinical environment.  


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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