PhD: Australasian Paramedic Higher Education: a critical study of higher education qualifications that prepares students to be job capable and allowing for a smooth and adaptive transition into an ever evolving, rapidly changing prehospital care system.

Anthony Weber (
School Health, Medical and Applied Science, CQUniversity Australia
January, 2018


Over the past 20 years paramedic education has undergone a transitional shift from vocational education into higher education. Despite the progress of paramedic education and standardised professional competency standards set out by an accreditation body, diversity of paramedic curriculum exists; such diversity potentially results in different transitions to employment and consequently the ability to practise as a competent paramedic.

The aim of the proposed thesis is to review a curriculum framework based on best practise curriculum design that has teaching and learning components that prepare students for current and future practise. The collaborative approach to the recommended components of this framework is to be considered across higher education institutions to prepare paramedic students to become independent and competent practitioners that are able to adapt to the rapidly changing evolution of paramedic practise.

The thesis will involve systematic reviews of the literature, qualitative and quantitative surveys/questionnaires and a Delphi study intended to assess standardised requirements of a curriculum across higher education institutions. The best practise curriculum acknowledges the scope of practise evolving for paramedics. The research will identify specific subjects intended to enhance core and discipline specific attributes and capabilities of students for them to be safe and effective practitioners.

The findings from this research project forms the basis for the thesis with a research paradigm focussed on a mixed methods research design. Within this study the paradigm chosen addresses best practise education delivery through a theoretical model identified as Critical Theory.

This research will contribute to the gap not only in the field of paramedicine but more specifically around paramedic education within the higher education sector. Following a critical paradigm, the research will be used to develop a series of recommendations for accreditation of higher education paramedic qualifications.