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HLSC122 Evidence for Practice


PARA212 - Contemporary Challenges in Paramedicine

Unit rationale, description and aim

It is a requirement that all paramedic professionals understand the concepts of professionalisation, governance, contemporary principles of interprofessional learning and interdisciplinary practice, legal precincts, and scope and models of practice underpinning paramedic practice. Such knowledge is essential for paramedics to operate safely within legal and ethical principles and boundaries in a rapidly evolving profession. Changing demographics in paramedic practice and health care delivery in Australia necessitate an understanding of disadvantaged and distinctive population groups.

This unit explores some of the emerging challenges for paramedicine as a health practice discipline with reference to the dynamic nature of this discipline area in contemporary times. It aims to engender in students a deeper understanding of the challenges they may face as paramedics once engaged in practice. Consideration is given to models, scope of practice and governance in the context of changing community needs, culturally safe practice and challenges to the adequacy of the health system in meeting these needs. Students will be encouraged to plan strategies to engage with communities in preparation for community engagement project work in the unit PARA321 Community Engagement and Paramedic Practice Innovations. It will also assist in the student developing content to showcase in PARA329 Transition to Paramedic Practice and Professionalism and further understand the nuances of care in PARA327 Paramedicine in Practice: Complex Care.

The aim of this unit is to assist students to achieve a wide-ranging knowledge of contemporary issues and challenges in paramedic practice including professionalisation, legal precincts, interdisciplinary practice and the assessment and management of specific and disadvantaged populations.  

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
LO1Discuss contemporary challenges in paramedicine, including those associated with responding to the needs of special population groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander PeoplesGC4, GC5, GC6
LO2Critically evaluate current approaches to a range of issues within the discipline of paramedicineGC1, GC7
LO3Create innovative proposals aimed at addressing contemporary practice challenges in paramedicine and advocate for the needs of an identified issue or community groupGC6, GC7, GC8

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: The professional and ethical practitioner 

1.1, 1.2, 1.4

LO1, LO3

Domain 2: The communicator and collaborator 



Domain 3: The evidence-based practitioner 

3.1, 3.3, 3.4

LO2, LO3

Domain 4: The safety and risk management practitioner 

4.1, 4.2, 4.5, 4.6

LO2, LO3

Domain 5: The paramedicine practitioner

5.3, 5.6

LO1, 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

Partnering with Consumers



Topics will include:

  • Health promotion and advocacy
  • Professionalisation
  • Technology
  • Scope of practice
  • Models of practice
  • Interprofessional education and interdisciplinary practice and environments
  • Changing demographics
  • Multiculturalism
  • Cultural safety
  • Needs of vulnerable groups
  • Feminisation, casualisation and fractionalisation of work patterns
  • Privatisation and unionisation
  • Environmental changes
  • Legal principles governing practice
  • Divergence from evidence-based practice
  • Populations/ ideology
  • Practitioners 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Modes of delivery in this unit include tutorials, 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.

Located in the second year of the programme, this unit includes some face-to-face teaching hours during which clinical case scenarios and professional case scenarios are used to assist students in linking theory with practice. Tutorials are utilised to convey content and its central principles while computer-assisted learning assists students in applying theory to clinical practice and to build critical reflective skills. The tutorials deliver interactive learning sessions which assist students in applying the theory to clinical practice while also providing an opportunity to consolidate professional knowledge and behaviours. Online materials provide students with the opportunity to manage the significant component of directed, self-motivated study required for graduate practice and life-long learning skills.

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.

PARA314 continues the students transition toward being an independent learner. The debate provides students with the opportunity to examine and articulate key issues and challenges in paramedic practice. The case study engages students with their pending practice environment. The essay evaluates knowledge and understanding critical to the changing demographic of paramedic practice.

These assessments are required to build student knowledge which, by the conclusion of this course, 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 Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Debate (equivalent 1,000 words)

This task aims to improve student communication, presentation and collaboration skills whilst concurrently deepening student understanding of the key issues that they are likely to face in their future practice as paramedics


LO1, LO2

Assessment Task 2: Case Study (1,500 words)

Enables students to demonstrate the understanding of key issues and challenges in the delivery of culturally safe health care to disadvantaged and distinctive populations or the changing demographics of paramedic practice.


LO2, LO3

Assessment Task 3: 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, LO3

Representative texts and references

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

National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions. (2017).; Australian Government Department of Health.

Bigham, B. L., Kennedy, S. M., Drennan, I., & Morrison, L. J. (2013). Expanding Paramedic Scope of Practice in the Community: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Prehospital Emergency Care, 17(3), 361–372.

Curtis, K., & Ramsden, C. (2016). Emergency and trauma care : for nurses and paramedics (2nd ed.). Elsevier Australia

Fraess-Phillips, A. J. (2016). Can Paramedics Safely Refuse Transport of Non-Urgent Patients? Prehospital and Disaster Medicine31(6), 667–674.

Glover, J., Hetzel, D. & Tennant, S. (2004). The socioeconomic gradient and chronic illness and associated risk factors in Australia. Australia and New Zealand Health Policy 1(8).

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

O’Meara, P. (2003). Would a prehospital practitioner model improve patient care in rural Australia? Emergency Medicine Journal20(2), 199–203.

O'Meara, P. F., Furness, S., & Gleeson, R. (2017). Educating Paramedics for the Future: A Holistic Approach. Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, 40(2), 219-253.

Talbot, L. & Verinder, G. (2018). Promoting health: The primary health care approach (6th ed.). Elsevier Australia.

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