Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


PARA104 Foundations of Paramedic Practice OR PARA118 Foundations of Paramedicine

Unit rationale, description and aim

Primary care is typically the first contact an individual with a health concern has with the health system, and as such, it is imperative that paramedics understand their roles, responsibilities and scope of practice involved with providing care to individuals and communities who present with primary care conditions. Building from the foundational knowledge and skills developed in PARA118 and using case-based learning, student's clinical decision-making abilities will further be developed in this unit. In addition, students will start to understand the individuals’ journey through the health care system. By assimilating the concepts of epidemiology, pathophysiology and evidence-based management for range of primary health care conditions that a paramedic will encounter, students will be able to incorporate this into a validated paramedic decision making framework. Students will begin to translate theory into practice while incorporating culturally safe therapeutic and social skills into a paramedic decision making framework, this will be undertaken both in the laboratory environment and while undertaking clinical placement.

The aim of this unit is to introduce students to the theory, practice and people-centred care required of primary care presentations that is commonly encountered by a paramedic.

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 - Identify the aetiologies, epidemiology, pathophysiology, presentations, clinical assessments, implications and management principles of injuries and illness within a paramedicine clinical decision-making framework which is typical of primary care within the context of paramedicine (GA5)

LO2 - Discuss evidence-based practice principles and appropriate health care pathways that encompasses a biopsychosocial approach to primary care that is within the scope of paramedicine (GA1, GA5, GA6, GA9)

LO3 - Integrate appropriate clinical assessments, therapeutic, social and cognitive skills into a paramedic decision making framework in order to assist people affected by illnesses and injuries typical of primary care presentations within the context of clinical paramedicine (GA5, GA8)

LO4 - Reflect upon their application of a paramedic decision making framework, culturally safe therapeutic skills and professionalism in the practice environment (GA4)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

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 

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: Professional and ethical conduct

1.1, 1.2, 1.4

LO1, LO2, LO3

Domain 2: Professional communication and collaboration


LO1, LO3, LO4

Domain 3: Evidence-based practice and professional learning

3.1, 3.2, 3.3

LO2, LO3, LO4

Domain 4: Safety, risk management and quality assurance

4.1, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6

LO3, LO4

Domain 5: Paramedicine practice

5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.6

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

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, LO4

Partnering with Consumers

LO1, LO2

Medication Safety

LO2, LO3

Comprehensive Care

LO2, LO3, LO4

Communicating for Safety

LO1, LO2

Recognising and Responding to Acute Deterioration



Topics will include:

  • Primary care
  • Continuum of Care/ Health Pathways
  • Interdisciplinary roles and teams in primary care
  • Introduction to technology in health care
  • Introduction to models of primary health care
  • Prevention and promotion
  • Reporting systems and documentation
  • Primary care presentations, epidemiology, pathophysiology, implications clinical-decision making and applied management principles:
  • Minor injuries
  • Falls
  • Wounds
  • Burns
  • Fractures/Dislocation
  • Minor head injury
  • Illness
  • Ear, nose and throat
  • Introduction to infectious diseases
  • Pain
  • Gastroenterological
  • Urology
  • Introductory concepts of fluid loss
  • Applying primary care and associated aetiologies assessments:
  • Physiological;
  • Social;
  • Psychological assessments.
  • Foundational therapeutic skills to support primary care:
  • Principles of safe drug administration
  • Intravenous access
  • Intramuscular administration
  • Intranasal administration
  • Introduction drug dose calculation
  • Analgesic agents
  • Antiemetic agents
  • Fluid therapy
  • Vaccinations
  • Introduction to Basic Life Support (BLS)
  • Airway clearance techniques
  • Primary airway adjuncts
  • Oxygenation
  • Ventilation
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • Defibrillation

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. PARA128 will provide foundational knowledge of primary care within the discipline of paramedicine. PARA128 continues to build student's 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, to 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 PARA128 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 workshops will be further explored and refined by providing the opportunity to develop and enact skills, paramedic clinical decision making, culturally safe care and communication strategies and attributes of teamwork. Varying levels of realism will engage student's 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 learning, students will have the opportunity to explore and apply knowledge and skills of paramedicine in the real-world environment. Students will typically undertake 80 hours of supervised clinical placement within an appropriate emergency, urgent care, primary health care, simulated or other 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 experiences 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 and complete the additional placement hours required 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

To pass this unit, students are required to submit all assessment tasks and gain an aggregate mark of 50% within the written assessment and exam.

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 future practice as a paramedic.

The written assessment will build on previous assessments by further assimilating and analysing key concepts pertinent within paramedicine. Its 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 Clinical Portfolio and Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) assessments in this unit are a hurdle requirement. These hurdles 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 hurdle. The Clinical Logbook allows an opportunity for students to document their 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 and therefore the associated reflection gives students the opportunity to reflect and subsequently develop their application of decision-making skills, culturally safe care and 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 the clinical practice environment. Therefore it is a requirement that the paramedic student demonstrates professional competence and as such achieving a pass standard for the OSCE is mandatory. Additionally, the OSCE provides the opportunity for feedback and development prior to future clinical experiences.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Examination

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


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA5, GA6, GA9

Assessment Task 2: Written Assessment

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


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA5, GA6, GA9

Assessment Task 3: Clinical Portfolio (Hurdle)

Enables students to evidence culturally safe practice and the application and reflection of their practice from the clinical environment.


LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 4

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) (Hurdle)

Enables the student to demonstrate competency and incorporation of therapeutic, psychomotor, social and cognitive skills into paramedic practice to address clinical challenges.



GA5, GA8

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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