Are you an experienced paramedic keen to take your career to the next level? Perhaps you’d like to provide primary care – especially in rural or regional communities – develop long-term relationships with patients and work more sociable hours in a less physically demanding role.

With Deakin’s brand new, specialist postgraduate paramedicine degrees, you can become an advanced clinical practitioner with key skills enabling you to effectively care for, engage, educate, and collaborate with patients, carers, communities, colleagues and other health professionals.

‘These are the first dedicated paramedicine practitioner courses in the country,’ says course director Dr Kate Kloot. ‘With a paramedicine practitioner qualification, you’ll be able to provide more complete care to the community and more comprehensive care to patients. It’s an emerging and very exciting career path.’

What does a paramedicine practitioner do?

Paramedicine practitioners expand on their skills as paramedics by conducting more comprehensive patient assessments, ordering diagnostic tests, and facilitating health management in order to provide end-to-end patient care.

As Dr Kloot explains, the biggest difference between paramedicine practitioners and traditional paramedics is ‘paramedicine practitioners are operating much more in a primary care role, whereas paramedics generally work in emergency care’.

‘Paramedicine practitioners have all of those emergency abilities and knowledge, but they've greatly broadened their clinical abilities and scope to encompass primary care,’ she says.

It’s almost the opposite of nurse practitioners, who drill down to focus on a specialised branch of nursing like aged care or wound management. ‘With paramedics, the knowledge is very specific to emergency medicine, whereas paramedicine practitioners become generalists across a vast area of clinical expertise,’ Dr Kloot says.

Prioritising primary care

As a paramedicine practitioner, you’ll undertake extensive clinical examinations and gather detailed patient information, diagnose medical conditions, and treat and manage those conditions. ‘Paramedicine practitioners can do a lot more in terms of wound management, plastering, and interpreting pathology investigations and x-rays, which aren’t often done by paramedics,’ Dr KIoot says.

From urgent care centres to hospitals and GP practices, the demand for paramedicine practitioners is expected to increase – especially in rural and regional Australia where collaborative models of care are being used to meet healthcare workforce shortfalls.

‘There are a lot of places where GPs visit, but they're not there all the time,’ Dr Kloot says. ‘When they're not there, there's a lack of health care services in those communities. Paramedicine practitioners can fill in a lot of those gaps and take on some of the responsibilities of the doctor.’

Paramedicine degrees opening new doors

Deakin’s Master of Advanced Clinical Practice (Paramedicine Practitioner) equips graduates to provide evidence-based paramedicine practitioner expertise in the assessment, diagnosis and management of clinical conditions, and the performance of procedures to provide advanced patient care.

Registered paramedics with three years’ on-road experience are eligible for entry to the course, which was designed to meet the Australasian College of Paramedic Practitioners (ACPP) accreditation requirements.

Dr Kloot says the courses have a strong focus on primary care and teach students how to meet the needs of the communities they’ll serve. ‘There's a lot of emphasis on health literacy, patient education and proactive care – rather than just reactive care,’ she says.

‘Students learn new skills to provide a much more complete episode of care to patients, so there's less likelihood that these patients will need to be seen by multiple health professionals.’

To gain additional practical, on-the-job experience, students can choose elective units to undertake 300 hours of clinical placement at a hospital, GP clinic or community health centre as part of the Master of Advanced Clinical Practice (Paramedicine Practitioner).

And for busy professionals, there’s good news about modes of study – the majority of your learning activities can take place online.