The Paramedicine Board of Australia (the Board) has approved professional capabilities for registered paramedics and will apply them, as appropriate, to its regulatory functions.
These capabilities identify the knowledge, skills and professional attributes needed for safe and competent practice of paramedicine in Australia and draw on the Professional Competency Standards – Paramedics Version 2.2 2013 published by the Council of Ambulance Authorities and the Australasian Competency Standards for Paramedics 2011 published by Paramedicine Australasia.
The Professional capabilities for registered paramedics apply to all registered paramedics and to individuals seeking to qualify for registration, including:
The National Board has powers under the National Law1 to develop standards, codes and guidelines about the eligibility of individuals for registration in the paramedicine profession.
Some of the National Board's standards, codes and guidelines refer to competent and ethical practice.
1 Section 38 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory.
The National Board has decided that, in order for an individual to be granted general registration, a practitioner must be able to demonstrate professional skills, attributes and the application of knowledge in the practice setting.
The core domains and capabilities in this document have been informed by a comparative review of the documents that describe the competency standards for the paramedicine profession in Australia.
The capability statements identify the minimum knowledge, skills and professional attributes necessary for practice.
They have been grouped into domains which identify elements of practice. Domains are not an indication of procedures undertaken by paramedicine professionals and are not a list of tasks.
During any one procedure, it is expected that practitioners will demonstrate elements from a number of domains. This recognises that competent professional practice is more than a sum of each discrete part. It requires an ability to draw on and integrate the breadth of capabilities to support overall performance.
To demonstrate capability, an individual must apply their knowledge and understanding holistically in a practice environment.
The domains for the professional capabilities for registered paramedics are:
Domain 1: professional and ethical conduct
Domain 2: professional communication and collaboration
Domain 3: evidence based practice and professional learning
Domain 4: safety, risk management and quality assurance, and
Domain 5: paramedicine practice.
Each domain comprises a list of statements that identify the scope of capabilities a registered paramedic must demonstrate for that domain.
Further information is provided against each capability statement on how that capability can be demonstrated, such as through knowledge, skills and professional attributes. These descriptions set out the minimum professional capabilities for registered paramedics in Australia.
A practitioner’s capability will expand and improve as they gain professional experience. Professional capability is a reflection of how a practitioner applies their professional judgement, decision-making skills and experiential knowledge to apply their scientific knowledge, practical skills and ability in any given situation.
This domain covers registered paramedics’ responsibility to be professional and ethical, and to practise with professional autonomy and accountability within the current medico-legal framework. It also addresses their responsibility for ensuring that patient/service user confidentiality and privacy is maintained at all times, while recognising the potential role as a patient/service user advocate.
Socio-cultural factors may include those related to cultural and linguistic diversity, age, gender, disability, socio-economic, geographic locations; and identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
Appropriate professional behaviour must include behaviour that:
This domain covers registered paramedics’ responsibility to utilise appropriate, clear and effective communication. It also addresses their responsibility to ensure that they function effectively with other healthcare team members at all times.
Establish rapport with patient/service user to gain understanding of their issues and perspectives, and to encourage their active participation in care and treatment
communicate with the patient/service user and/or carers to collect and convey information and reach agreement about the purpose of any care and treatment
convey knowledge and procedural information in ways that engender trust and confidence and respects patient/service user confidentiality, privacy and dignity
respond appropriately to patient/service user queries or issues
use appropriate communication skills to effectively manage avoidance, confusion and confrontation
identify and effectively manage likely communication barriers, including anxiety and stress, specific to individual patients/service users and/or carers
make appropriate adjustments to communication style to suit the particular needs of the patient/service user including those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and
make provisions to engage third parties, including interpreters, to facilitate effective communication with patients/service users whose first language is not English, wherever possible.
Communication needs may be influenced by English language skills, health literacy, age, health status, culture.
Appropriate adjustments may include the paramedic demonstrating an awareness of the ways that their own culture and experience affect their interpersonal style, and having an awareness of strategies to ensure this does not present an impediment.
Communication techniques must include active listening, use of appropriate language and detail, use of appropriate verbal and non-verbal cues and language, and confirming that the other person has understood.
Healthcare team members may include registered health practitioners, accredited health professionals, and licensed or unlicensed healthcare workers.
This domain covers registered paramedics’ responsibility to engage in evidence-based practice and to critically monitor their actions through a range of reflective processes. It also addresses their responsibility for identifying, planning and implementing their ongoing professional learning and development needs.
Critical thinking may include skills in questioning, analysing, synthesising, interpreting, and cognitive reasoning, and the critical appraisal of literature and evidence.
Reflective practice may include self-reflection during and after a clinical challenge or experience. It may involve structured and informal reflection to review and integrate knowledge and findings into practice.
This domain covers registered paramedics’ responsibility to protect patients/service users and others from harm by managing and responding to the risks inherent in paramedicine practice. It also addresses their responsibility to ensure high quality professional services are provided for the benefit of patients and service users.
Patient/service user identification procedures must use at least three recognised patient/service user identifiers, and may include procedures for transferring patients/service users from other health professionals. Procedures may be contained in workplace materials, relevant jurisdictions’ materials and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care publications.
Infection control risk management: The registered paramedic must demonstrate understanding of transmission modes of hospital-acquired infections (host, agent and environment); established practices for preventing the transmission including effective hand hygiene; and ability to implement NHMRC infection prevention and control guidelines.
Responsibilities for notification of safety hazards may include protocols or instructions, legislation and regulations.
This domain covers profession specific knowledge, skills and capabilities required for practice as a registered paramedic.
Patient/service user’s capacity or behaviour may include pre-existing medical and/or physical and physiological conditions, age, pregnancy, psycho-social, socio-economic, culture, English language skills.