Today’s correspondent wants to:
… ask [a question] as registration is quite new for the paramedic profession. There is a lot of debate about the expectation of paramedic graduates who have not yet obtained a position with a state service and are working in the private sector as a paramedic. What is your best advice for graduate paramedics when it comes to their scope of practice and the legal issues of paramedic care in the prehospital setting. Especially when employers employ them as qualified paramedics and give them a drug kit and all the equipment and send them out on jobs (sometimes as a single officer). This is something I am seeing more and more with fewer and fewer state services employing graduate paramedics. This is something that would be of great benefit to hundreds of graduate paramedics around the country.
As I noted before a paramedic’s authority to practice comes from their registration – not their employer – see What it means to be a professional paramedic (May 15, 2021). As professionals graduate paramedics need to define their own scope of practice, subject to any limitations in their registration. It stands to reason that if they have restricted or limited registration eg that they must practice under supervision for a certain number of hours or they like, then they must do that. But if there are no limitations, then the paramedic has to consider if they have the skills and training to perform the tasks they are being asked to do. If they do not have the skills or experience they have to talk to their employer and undertake further training to get those skills – that is part of the paramedic’s CPD obligations. A paramedic has to identify what professional development they need in order to provide good care to their patients – see Paramedicine Board Identifying your CPD learning goals (December 2019).
In short the ‘expectation of paramedic graduates who have not yet obtained a position with a state service and are working in the private sector as a paramedic’ is that they will provide good paramedic care as defined by the Paramedicine Board’s Code of Conduct and the standards expected by the profession. That is the expectation of any paramedic, regardless of who their employer is.
For further discussion see:
- Revisiting conflict between a paramedic’s skills and an employer’s duty statement (April 26, 2021);
- What it means to be a professional paramedic (May 15, 2021); and
- What it means to be a professional paramedic – part 2 (June 6, 2021).