Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


PARA201 Paramedic Theory: Medical 1

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 persons presenting with cardiac, neurological, endocrine and toxicological conditions in the pre-hospital environment. The unit is complimented by the practical content in PARA211: Paramedic Practice: Medical 2. The PARA201 Paramedic Theory: Medical 1 unit is required by students to achieve course learning outcomes related to time-critical 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 assists 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 the delivery of 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, pathophysiology, implications, assessment and management of advanced medical presentations related to cardiovascular, neurology, endocrine and toxicology emergencies (GA8, GA9) 

LO2 - Outline current best practice management of the advanced medical presentations related to cardiovascular, neurology, endocrine and toxicology emergencies in the pre-, in- and post-hospital setting (GA2, GA6, GA8, GA9) 

LO3 - Relate advanced medical presentations associated with cardiovascular, neurology, endocrine and toxicology emergencies to the concept of time criticality (GA4, GA6, GA8, GA9) 

LO4 - Apply critical appraisal principles to the management strategies currently used by paramedics relating to the medical conditions considered (GA4, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9) 

LO5 - Differentiate between provisional diagnoses of a range of presentations based on understandings of pathophysiology with reference to available clinical data (GA4, GA6, GA8, GA9) 

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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

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

Paramedicine Board of Australia Professional Capabilities for Registered Paramedics 

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

1.2, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 5.3, 5.4, 5.6  


1.2, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 5.3, 5.4, 5.6 


1.2, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 5.3, 5.4, 5.6 


1.2, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 4.5, 5.3, 5.4, 5.6 


1.2, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 4.5, 5.3, 5.4, 5.6  



Topics will include: 

Cardiac advanced:

  • Principles of permanent pacemakers and automatic implantable cardioversion devices 
  • Electrocardiograph rhythm interpretation  
  • 12 lead electrocardiograph 
  • Infarct pattern recognition 
  • Associated pharmacology  
  • Reperfusion therapies and ongoing management 

Neurological medical:

  • Review of anatomy and physiology of the nervous system 
  • Pathophysiology of selected neurological conditions / emergencies 
  • Pre-Hospital assessment and management of selected neurological conditions / emergencies 
  • Altered Level of Consciousness  
  • Stroke / Transient Ischaemic Attack 
  • Seizure disorders  
  • Neurogenic shock 
  • Autonomic Dysreflexia  
  • Headache/Migraine  
  • Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome 
  • Malignant Hyperthermia 
  • Dystonic reactions 
  • Cerebral neoplasms and abysses 
  • Degenerative neurological disorders 
  • Myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease,  motor neurone disease 
  • Other neurological/spinal conditions 
  • Glasgow Coma Scale  
  • Principles underpinning Neurological Status Assessment 
  • Associated pharmacology  


  • Diabetes Mellitus – Type I & Type II 
  • Hypoglycaemia 
  • Hyperglycaemia 
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis 
  • Hyperosmolar Hyperglycaemic State (HHS)  
  • Alcoholic ketoacidosis 

Toxicology (overdose) 

  • Poisons  
  • Overdose 
  • Alcohol 
  • Polypharmacy 
  • Tricyclic antidepressants 
  • Benzodiazepines 
  • Narcotic  
  • Paracetamol 
  • Acetyl salicylate 
  • Illicit drugs 

Other prescription and / or over-the-counter medications 

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 advanced 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 second/third 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 procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements.    

The group presentation ensures sound communication skills which are required for all interactions as a health care professional; it assesses an understanding of issues specific to medical presentations. Working in a group also helps students develop communication and effective work strategies essential to working in a team environment such as the paramedic team environment. The essay and examination evaluate key pathophysiological knowledge underpinning medical emergencies and its application within paramedic practice which will direct future practice as a paramedic.  

These assessments are required to build student knowledge which, by the conclusion of this programme, will allow the student to graduate as a safe and effective practitioner.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes


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


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA7, GA8, GA9 


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


LO4, LO5 

GA2, GA4, GA6, GA8,  GA9 


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


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4,  LO5 

GA4, GA6, GA9 

Representative texts and references

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

Ambulance Victoria (2015). Clinical work instructions. Doncaster, Victoria: Ambulance Victoria 

Bryant, B., & Knights, K. (2015). Pharmacology for health professionals (4th ed). Chatswood, N.S.W. : Elsevier Australia. 

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

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

Martini, F., Nath, J. & Bartholomew, E. (2015).  Fundamentals of anatomy & physiology (10th Global ed ). Boston: Pearson.   

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

Queensland Ambulance Service (2010). Clinical practice guidelines (CPG) and clinical practice procedures (CPP). Brisbane: Queensland Ambulance Service. Retrieved from 

Queensland Ambulance Service (2010). Drug therapy protocols (DTP). Brisbane: Queensland Ambulance Service. Retrieved from 

Sanders, M. J. (2012). Mosby’s paramedic textbook (4th ed.). St Louis, MO.: Mosby. 

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