Review article: Paramedic education opportunities and challenges in Australia

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Paramedic education has been undergoing major development in Australia in the past 20 years, with many different educational programmes being developed across all Australian jurisdictions. This paper aims to review the current paramedic education programmes in Australia to identify the similarities and differences between the programmes, and the strengths and challenges in these programmes. A literature search was performed using six scientific databases to identify any systematic reviews, literature reviews or relevant articles on the topic. Additional searches included journal articles and text references from 1995 to 2011. The search was conducted during December 2010 and November 2011. Included in this review are a total of 28 articles, which are focused around five major issues in paramedic education: (i) principle on paramedic programmes and the involvement of industry partners; (ii) clinical placements; (iii) contemporary methods of education; (iv) needs for specific programmes within paramedic education; and (v) articles related to the accreditation process for paramedic programmes. Paramedic programmes across Australian universities vary with many different practices, especially relating to clinical placements in the field. The further advances of the paramedic education programmes should aim to respond to population change and industry development, which would enhance the paramedic profession across Australia.

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