Primary health care facilities

We partner with primary health-care facilities to help place paramedic students in non-emergency ambulance environments.

Why Primary Health Care Placements for Paramedic students?

The face of paramedicine is changing rapidly following the introduction of registration in November 2019. We are now seeing the role of paramedics evolve where they are increasingly working in 'non-traditional' primary health care environments and requiring new skills and knowledge to adapt to changes in the industry.

Paramedics are now well placed as the first point of contact for clients to fill service gaps in the health industry, proving to be adaptable, trusted, accessible, credible, and skilled health workers.

Community needs

Changes in the needs of the community, an increase in chronic illnesses, and a decrease in home visits from GPs have resulted in paramedicine evolving to a wider, more involved community-based approach, encompassing:

  • preventative education
  • at-home treatments
  • ongoing health maintenance, particularly in rural and remote areas.

How we're meeting these needs

Low acuity incidents and primary health care now make up the majority of a modern paramedic's workload. We are remodelling our workplace learning practices to keep pace with this change and offer a more authentic paramedic experience for our students.

The evidence is clear that these types of placements offer outstanding learning opportunities for paramedic students and more accurately reflect the knowledge and skills acquisition that they will require to translate to modern practice. Providing this level of diversity for our students will more appropriately prepare them for practice and participation in the industry upon graduation.

We recognise that paramedic student education and experience in community paramedicine will prove necessary and fundamental to aligning with international and national industry practice.

How this will help

The primary health care placements offered by our partners will complement the existing clinical training partnerships already in place with ambulance services across Australia. These placements will provide our students with critical skills, knowledge, empathy, and understanding that will lead to improved client care and foster collaborative interprofessional partnerships.

The future of well-trained paramedics lies in our ability to be able to predict the needs of community health in the years to come. Training our undergraduate paramedics to be adaptable and perceptive to the patient's needs, as well as having awareness of care pathways, is critical to providing best practice and care.

Sonja Maria, Associate Head of School | Head of Discipline Paramedicine, Charles Sturt University

Benefits of placements in primary health-care environments

There are many benefits of placements for students and for providers.

For students

  • Provide students with experiences that enhance their understanding of working interprofessionally.
  • Development of skills for translation to practice in a changing pre-hospital environment.
  • Creating work-ready graduates who have had a broad range of clinical experiences.
  • Improve communication and interpersonal skills both interprofessionally and with clients.
  • Build student knowledge of allied health and community-based services.
  • Practical development and utilisation of skills in diagnosis, assessment, intervention, and referral.
  • Increased knowledge and understanding of working within an ethical framework in a variety of community settings.
  • Practical application of health theories.
  • Strengthen students' ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds.

For providers

  • Expansion of multidisciplinary approaches to client care through the enhancement of interprofessional networks.
  • The creation of strong collaborative business, community, interdisciplinary, and educational networks.
  • Support of workplace learning through involvement in student education.
  • Influencing future workforce dynamics.
  • Opportunities for joint research and interactive sharing of knowledge and resources with CSU.
  • Advanced knowledge of current paramedic practice.
  • Activities or projects that add value to current services or enhance service capacity.
  • Enhanced organisational learning culture.
  • Enhanced visibility of the organisation for future health professionals.
  • Positive media promotion and awareness.
  • Positive client perception through service innovation, initiation, and a proactive approach.

Placement requirements

A time commitment of 80 hours or over 14 days of clinical placement during the year.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the related workplace learning subject, students should be able to:

  • undertake patient care activities related to the role of the paramedic as per clinical record book objectives
  • complete an accurate health assessment and effectively manage out-of-hospital patients
  • explain/demonstrate the concepts of advanced life support, advanced airway management and drug administration
  • maintain an effective audit trail of their own paramedic practice
  • continually reflect on and improve their practice.

The related workplace learning subject will cover the following topics:

  • The assessment and management of patients with acute clinical presentations.
  • The assessment and management of patients with chronic clinical presentations.
  • Problem-solving approaches with patients with simple and complex health issues.
  • The knowledge and clinical application of basic life support, advanced airway management techniques and drug administration.