Curriculum guidance and CPD: a busy year ahead

Curriculum Guidance and Competencies FrameworkThe development of a suitable curriculum by the College has formed a major component of the College's work prior to 2012. Over the next 12 months the approval process will be complemented by curriculum development work by the College, allowing an appraisal of quality of its implementation, identifying and promoting best practice to enhance student learning experiences.The College believes that curriculum guidance should be central to the planning, implementation and delivery of educational curricula for paramedics. It needs to reflect contemporary directions in paramedic practice by consulting with several parties who hold an interest, not only College members but employer's representatives, educators and service users. Currently work is in progress by College members to develop a third edition of its curriculum guidance for publication in mid-2012. It published a first edition in February 2006 with the second edition following in January 2008.The Curriculum Guidance and Competencies Framework form an extremely important document for the paramedic profession; it represents expert opinion and direction from paramedic professionals. The input from frontline clinicians provides expertise, experience, perspective and context on behalf of the paramedic profession to institutions providing development courses. The foreword to the second edition of the College of Paramedics’ Curriculum Guidance and Competencies Framework (College of Paramedics, 2008) explains the synergy between curriculum guidance and other important drivers:‘This curriculum guidance does not stand alone in achieving a curriculum that delivers a paramedic suitably and fully prepared for the role expected of them. Closely linked to this work and to the process of approvals for FE/HEIs are three other important documents that strongly influence the standards and quality of paramedic services that aim to be delivered: Health Professions Council (HPC) Standards of ProficiencyHPC Standards of Education and TrainingQuality Assurance Agency (QAA) Benchmark statements.The 2008 Guidance also provided explanation regarding the scope of practice for the paramedic profession (College of Paramedics, 2008: 4):‘The section on scope of practice found in this guidance defines what is expected from paramedics at each level of their career development and acknowledges that while the depth of clinical knowledge and skills remain central to good practice these aspects must be complemented by appropriate knowledge and attitudes.’Clearly identifying any professional's scope of practice is important. The paramedic role has evolved from provision of immediate life-saving treatment and routine transportation to that of a fully rounded and complex healthcare professional who is required to assess, diagnose and treat a broad range of conditions. The recent National Audit Office report (National Audit Office, 2011) and Taking Healthcare to the Patient I & II (Department of Health (DH), 2005; Association of Chief Ambulance Officers, 2011) illustrate the changing clinical workload encountered by paramedics. This has included a rapid growth in undifferentiated urgent and emergency patients encountered by paramedics in their clinical practice. Also recognised is the increasing role that paramedics have in directing patient flow through NHS urgent and emergency care networks, both in current pathways and in emerging strategies of care delivery.In response to these drivers, the College has developed a revised career framework. This aims to provide a framework illustrating potential career pathways for paramedics. The framework maps development routes for paramedics in specialisms to manage the broad range of patients encountered in their practice. The career framework is underpinned by current curriculum development by the College; integrating a potential developmental pathway from paramedic to consultant that is mapped to the Allied Health Professions career framework. It should be noted that NHS pay bands are determined by employing trusts independently of the College; references to bands within the curriculum/career framework refer to qualification/level of practice by paramedics only.As an organization acting on behalf of its members, we welcome comment on our proposed career framework and curriculum development. Please send these to:

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