Credit points


Campus offering

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PARA212 Contemporary Challenges in Paramedicine OR PARA314 Contemporary Challenges in Paramedicine

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

The paramedic requires comprehensive knowledge of the challenges faced by marginalized and diverse groups and the specific health care issues encountered by these groups. This unit explores issues relating to the professional practice of paramedics and the unique challenges faced by paramedics as their role and scope of practice evolves to meet the changing needs of culturally and linguistically diverse groups.

This capstone unit enables students to undertake a community engagement project which explores the concepts of the continuum of care, human dignity, patient-centred care and diversity from a paramedic practice perspective. Students will extend on the concepts introduced in the unit PARA314 and engage with a community group in order to identify the group's perspective on their specialty needs as a potential consumer of paramedic services. This engagement will underpin a project aimed at proposing a paramedic practice modification or enhancement which is informed by the needs of the community they engage with.

The aim of this unit is to assist students to understand the changing health needs of diverse and marginalised populations through community engagement and how to provide health care to a range of distinctive population groups.

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 - Apply an action research approach aimed at exploring the needs of a community group (GA1, GA6, GA7, GA8)

LO2 - Use a range of communication strategies in order to meaningfully engage with a community group (GA2, GA7, GA9)

LO3 - Identify the needs of a specific community group and reflect on whether paramedics meet these needs with current practice models (GA1, GA2, GA4)

LO4 - Design an innovative proposal aimed at practice modifications within paramedic practice to better reflect the specific community needs identified (GA2, GA3, GA4, GA6, GA8)

LO5 - Implement creative and innovative communication strategies to disseminate proposed practice modifications to key people within the paramedic discipline in order to advocate for change (GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10)

Graduate attributes

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

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

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

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 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.

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, 2.2

LO1, LO4

Domain 2: Professional communication and collaboration

2.1, 2.2

LO2, LO5

Domain 3: Evidence-based practice and professional learning

3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4

LO1, LO3, LO4, LO5

Domain 4: Safety, risk management and quality assurance

4.3, 4.5, 4.6

LO3, LO4, LO5

Domain 5: Paramedicine practice

5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.6

LO1, LO3, LO4, LO5

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

Partnering with Consumers

LO1, LO2, LO3

Communicating for Safety



Topics will include: 

  • Continuum of care 
  • Patient centred care 
  • Diversity 
  • Marginalised groups 
  • Human dignity 
  • Communication strategies 
  • Community engagement 
  • Indigenisation 
  • Internationalisation 
  • Language 
  • Culture 
  • Social justice 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Modes of delivery in this unit include lectures, online activities, community engagement 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 community engagement activities and innovative 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. 

Located in the third/final year of the programme, this unit includes community engagement activities and self-directed learning during which students will undertake meaningful engagement with a community group in order to identify their unique needs. Plans related to the group, strategies and objectives of engagement are subject to negotiation with and approval of the unit LIC. Lectures are utilised to convey content and its central principles while computer assisted learning deliver interactive learning sessions which assist students in applying the theory to practice while also providing an opportunity to consolidate knowledge and implement theoretical concepts. Students will be presented with a selection of case scenarios during in-class activities that will guide the learning of the unit. 

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 paramedic. 

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.  

Third/final year sees the students continue their transition toward being an independent practitioner. The community engagement plan engages final year students with their pending professional working environment and the preservation of human dignity. The written discussions evaluate knowledge and understanding critical to the delivery of health care to disadvantaged, marginalized and diverse groups. The proposal to modify paramedic practice evaluates understanding of theory and practice in paramedicine in the continuum of care for disadvantaged, marginalised and diverse groups and inspires students to develop innovative new practice interventions to improve health care delivery to these groups. 

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 paramedic. 

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 OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Community Engagement Plan  

Enables students to showcase their learning experiences in a professional manner, ensuring that documentation meets the professional, ethical and legal requirements for practice. 


LO1, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 2: Reflective Journal

Enables students to think deeply and articulate ideas for improvement on issues relating to the dignity of the individual and social justice in health care delivery. 


LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA7, GA9

Assessment Task 3: Proposal to Modify Paramedic Practice   

Enables students to showcase their learning experiences in a professional manner ensuring that documentation meets the professional and ethical requisites for practice. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013). Australian health survey: health service usage and health    related actions, 2011–12. Canberra: ABS. Retrieved from 

Australian Catholic University Institute for Advancing Community Engagement (2010). Community Engagement and Making a Difference. North Sydney: Australian Catholic University.   

Australian Government. (2013). The People of Australia: Australia’s Multicultural Policy.

Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council. (2017). National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions.. Canberra: Australian Government. Retrieved from 

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2012). Risk factors contributing to chronic disease. Canberra: AIHW. Retrieved  from: 

Cyril, S., Smith, B. J., Possamai-Inesedy, A., & Renzaho, A. M. N. (2015). Exploring the role of community engagement in improving the health of disadvantaged populations: A systematic review.  Global Health Action, 8 doi:10.3402/gha.v8.29842 

Brightwell, R., & Bange, R. (2014). Pre hospital medical services and paramedic engagement in australian health care - improving the pathways of care through collaborative action . Family Medicine and Community Health, 2(4), 1-12.

Health Workforce Australia. (2013). Health LEADS Australia: the Australian Health Leadership Framework. Canberra: Australian Government. Retrieved from:  

O'Meara, P., Stirling, C., Ruest, M., & Martin, A. (2016). Community paramedicine model of care: An observational, ethnographic case study . BMC Health Services Research, 16(1)

O'Meara, P. F., Tourle, V., Stirling, C., Walker, J., & Pedler, D. (2012). Extending the paramedic role in rural australia: A story of flexibility and innovation . Rural and Remote Health, 12(2) Retrieved from

Scottish Community Development Centre (2016). National standards for community engagement. Retrieved from  

World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. (2013).Towards people-centred health systems: an innovative approach for better health outcomes. Copenhagen: World Health Organization/Europe; Retrieved from: 

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