Today’s question comes

… in the setting of it being the time of year to renew registration for Paramedics. When renewing Paramedic registration one of the questions is along the lines of ‘in the last week how many hours were you EMPLOYED in Paramedicine?’ It goes on to ask in what type of area i.e clinical, management, education, charity, academic etc. It further goes on to ask what type or organisation i.e public, private, retrieval, defence, charity etc.

The part ‘employed as a paramedic’ I believe makes it confusing to those whose job title isn’t Paramedic but meet all the AHPRA requirements as set out in the Recency of Practice Standard. I am currently employed as a Registered Paramedic, Critical Care Nurse, Registered Midwife, and Aeromedical Nurse. I also volunteer with a Paramedic charity. I see my variety of work not only overlaps but compliments in providing safe and quality clinical care.

The Recency of Practice Standard has the following definitions:

Practice means any role, whether remunerated or not, in which the individual uses their skills and knowledge as a health practitioner in their profession. Practice in this context is not restricted to the provision of direct clinical care. It also includes using professional knowledge (working) in a direct non-clinical relationship with clients, working in management, administration, education, research, advisory, regulatory or policy development roles, and any other roles that impact on the safe, effective delivery of services in the profession.

Recency of practice means that a health practitioner has maintained an adequate connection with, and recent practice in the profession since qualifying for, or obtaining registration.”

Based on the above definitions I was of the belief your employment contract/job title doesn’t need to be Paramedic to be working as a Paramedic in regard to recency of practice. It was my understanding that it is the type of work you do that uses Paramedic specific professional skills and knowledge which is of important as well as maintaining competency, education, link to the profession and not the employment/job title.

  1. Could you please confirm for me whether the title of what you are EMPLOYED as matters or is it what you are practicing?
  2. If what the Registered Paramedic is employed as isn’t the most relevant aspect in maintaining recency of practice (as is written in the AHPRA requirements under the Recency of Practice Standard) do you believe this wording should be change or further clarified in the registration renewal questions? For example “I.e How many hours within the last week have you WORKED paid or unpaid in a role that can be defined as Paramedicine?

After sending this question my correspondent sent through a screen shot of a conversation, they had been having with AHPRA that says that this question was part of a workforce survey ‘used for gathering statistical information’ and that completing the survey is ‘an optional step in the renewal application and will not affect your renewal if you do not submit it’.

First if the question about employment is part of a ‘workforce survey’ rather than part of the recency of practice declaration then the Board can, I suppose, ask whatever they want and they may be interested in how many people are employed as a paramedic, and the number of hours per week as that does give them data that they may be interested in.

I agree that it shouldn’t really matter what one’s job title is.  Here I note the word ‘employed’ can have two different meaning.  On the one hand it means to be engaged for wages or salary –  “I was employed as a paramedic”; on the other hand it means to be “occupied; devoted to some pursuit” ( – “I spent many hours happily employed in my gardening”.  In the latter sense one might interpret the question ‘how many hours were you EMPLOYED in Paramedicine’ as how many hours did you spend doing paramedicine type work, regardless of the actual title of the job.

If we assume the question was about recency of practice and the Recency of practice registration standard (17 May 2018), my correspondent has quoted the relevant definition.  That standard says:

To meet this registration standard you must complete a minimum of:

a. 450 hours of practice in the previous three years, or

b. 150 hours of practice in the previous 12 months, or

c. 750 hours of practice in the previous five years with no continuous absence from practice of greater than two years.

The standard refers to hours of practice, not hours employed.


If I was going to suggest a change of words, I would suggest “How many hours within the last week have you practiced as a Paramedic?”  The reason that I start this paragraph with an ‘If’ and why I don’t commit myself to that recommendation is because the question that my correspondent referred to was in a voluntary workforce survey.  In the survey the Board may be asking about employment because that is specifically what they want to know.  And I don’t suggest any change in the current renewal application because I cannot see what Paramedics are currently asked when they renew their registration so I don’t know what the current form of questions is, so I cannot make any sensible recommendation for change.

This blog is made possible with generous financial support from the Australasian College of Paramedicine, the Australian Paramedics Association (NSW), Natural Hazards Research Australia, NSW Rural Fire Service Association and the NSW SES Volunteers Association. I am responsible for the content in this post including any errors or omissions. Any opinions expressed are mine, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or understanding of the donors.