Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


BIOL121 Human Biological Science 1 , PARA104 Foundations of Paramedic Practice

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

It is a requirement that the paramedic is able to link theory with practice and perform clinical duties underpinned by a theoretical understanding. To perform these skills well, the paramedic must be able to reflect critically on their practice and appraise their performance. The unit focuses on theoretical aspects of recognition, assessment and management of a person exposed to trauma, environmental exposure and envenomation in the pre-hospital environment. The unit is complimented by the practical content in PARA108: Paramedic Practice: Trauma Emergencies. The Paramedic Theory: Trauma Emergencies unit is required by students to achieve course learning outcomes related to time-critial emergencies.

This unit provides opportunities for students to integrate theoretical and practical knowledge in lectures, tutorials, and computer assisted learning. Foundational concepts such as critical thinking, clinical reasoning and clinical judgement will be introduced and practice skills will be developed and extended through scenario based learning in the laboratory.

The aim of this unit is to assist students 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 - important skills in paramedic practice.

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.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe the epidemiology of trauma and trauma systems in Australia; (GA5; GA9)

LO2 - Describe the causes, pathophysiology and presentation of shock and relate these to the underlying principles of fluid resuscitation; (GA5)

LO3 - Explain the concept of time criticality and relate this concept to the guiding principles underpinning time critical guidelines in paramedic practice (GA4, GA5)

LO4 - Examine the implications of inadequate tissue perfusion and oxygenation and relate these principles to pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions; (GA5, GA8)

LO5 - Examine the implications of musculoskeletal, soft tissue, burns, exposure and envenomation related trauma and compare and contrast the effects of injury on various body systems; (GA4, GA5)

LO6 - Differentiate between different types of injuries based on pathophysiology and assessment findings in relation to a range of body systems; (GA4, GA5, GA6)

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


CAA Competency Standards:

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

5. Demonstrates the knowledge and understanding required for practice as a paramedic 

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

9. Critically evaluates the impact of, or response to, the Paramedics actions

LO2, LO4, LO5


Topics will include:

  • Trauma theory
  • Introduction to time criticality 
  • Mechanisms and pattern of injury

  • Impact of mechanical trauma on all body regions and systems
  • Ballistics and blast injuries
  • Burns
  • Environment and exposure related trauma
  • Envenomation

  • The shock process and types of shock
  • Ambulance service guidelines
  • Associated pharmacology 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Modes of delivery in this unit include lectures, online activities and self-directed study. Consistent with adult learning principles, the teaching and learning strategies used within these modes of delivery will provide students with foundational knowledge and skills relevant to professional paramedic practice.  These strategies will also support students in meeting the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit and the broader course learning outcomes. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively with peers. 

Students entering university need significant support to transition into a learning and teaching environment where they are required to drive their own learning. To guide students in their learning, feedback is required to identify what is being done well, what requires additional work and to identify progress toward required learning outcomes. Located in the first/second  year of the programme, this unit includes significant face-to-face teaching hours during which clinical case scenarios are used to assist students in linking theory with practice. Lectures are utilised to convey content and its central principles, while tutorials and computer assisted learning deliver interactive sessions which assist students in applying the theory to clinical practice.

Students will be presented with a selection of case scenarios that will guide the learning of the unit.

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 and attain the Graduate Attributes.

The oral assessment ensures sound communication skills which are required for all interactions as a health care professional: it assesses understanding of issues specific to trauma emergencies. The case study andexamination evaluate key pathophysiological knowledge underpinning trauma emergencies and its application within paramedic practice. These assessments are required to build student knowledge and skills which, by the conclusion of this programme, will enable the student to graduate as a safe and effective practioner. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Case Study (1,500 words)

Enables students to demonstrate understanding of key pathophysiological and other concepts underpinning trauma emergencies


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9

Oral Presentation

Enables students to achieve sound communication skills and understanding of key issues in trauma emergencies


LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8, 

Examination (2 hours(Central Examinations Period)

Emables students to demonstrate understanding of key pathophysiological and other concepts underpinning trauma emergencies


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

 GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Ambulance Victoria (2016). Ambulance Victoria clinical practice guidelines for ambulance and MICA paramedics. Doncaster: Ambulance Victoria.

Bersten, A and Soni, N. (2014). Oh’s intensive care manual (7th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.

Curtis, K., & Ramsden, Clair. (2015). Emergency and trauma care for nurses and paramedics (2nd ed.). Sydney: Mosby – Elsevier.

Copstead, L., & Banasik, J. (Eds). (2013). Pathophysiology (5th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Saunders.

Guyton, A.C., & Hall, J.E. (2016). Guyton and Hall textbook of medical physiology (13th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.

Marieb, E.N., & Hoehn, K. (2016). Human anatomy and physiology (10th Global ed..). Harlow: Pearson Education Limited. 

McCance, K., & Huether. S, (2014). Pathophysiology: The biologic basis for disease in adults and children  ( 7th ed.). St Louis: Mosby.

National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (U.S.). (2016). PHTLS – Prehospital trauma life support (8th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Queensland Ambulance Service (2017). Clinical practice guidelines (CPG) and clinical practice procedures (CPP). Brisbane: Queensland Ambulance Service.

Queensland Ambulance Service (2017). Drug therapy protocols (DTP). Brisbane: Queensland Ambulance Service.

Sanders, M. J. (2010). Mosby’s paramedic textbook (4th ed.). St Louis: Mosby.

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