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New School of Paramedicine responds to industry training needs

Study | Newsroom

The University of Tasmania will establish Australia’s first School of Paramedicine in 2023, responding to health workforce training needs across Tasmania and New South Wales.

The expanding role and scope of paramedicine within the Australian health workforce, moving beyond emergency service responders, has prompted the move. Paramedicine has been a discipline in the University’s Tasmanian School of Medicine since 2006.

“Demands placed on health services, workforce shortages, increased expectations from the public, and an aging population are providing opportunities for the advancement of the paramedic profession,” Associate Professor Belinda Flanagan, Head of the School of Paramedicine, said.

“Paramedics are considered to be experts in out-of-hospital emergency care. Traditionally, paramedics have provided this care in community or industrial settings, however the role of paramedics is evolving to include the primary healthcare setting.

“This primary health care model is developing in response to challenges including increased ambulance demand, rising prevalence of chronic disease and decreased accessibility for out-of-hours care.

“As a result, the paramedic profession now includes the delivery of primary healthcare in addition to an emergency focus.”

The first pre-employment degree for paramedicine commenced in Australia in 1998. Prior to this paramedic education was delivered via a vocational education and training (VET) model.

The profession’s growth at the University of Tasmania has led to developing strong relationships with key industry stakeholders across Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales.

As well as providing tertiary education to the Royal Australian Navy, the University is the preferred provider for post-employment education for NSW Ambulance to cater to the surge of workforce required to manage current health care workforce shortages.

To help increase access opportunities, the University is offering a paramedic specific tertiary entrance program. The Diploma of University Studies (Paramedicine Foundation Studies) provides an alternative entry for students who may not meet the direct entry requirements.

“It is only fitting that the University establishes the School of Paramedicine with the modernisation of the profession, moving from a VET model delivery to tertiary education, and subsequent growth and importance of the discipline in our communities,” Professor Luke Bereznicki, Acting Executive Dean of the College of Health and Medicine, said.

“The School of Paramedicine will help support increased flexibility and responsiveness to meet critical stakeholder requirements, providing distinctive practical learning outcomes.”