Paramedic decision-making–how is it done?

In 2005, The Bradley Report called for a move to higher education and the ambulance services saw the advent of the degree and diploma paramedic. Historically, ambulance services have used the Institute of Healthcare Development (IHCD) vocational educational programmes to develop and educate their own staff, using a skills escalator approach to paramedic status, rather than supporting their development in the Higher Education (HE) environment. More recently the services have started to use graduate paramedics educated and developed to the requirements of the HPC Standards of Proficiency (2007) in universities across the UK. This article considers the decision-making process of the graduate paramedics against that of the IHCD paramedic, and involves the hyperthetico-dedutive and intiuitive approaches used by paramedics to inform their decisions, and the treatment that they provide. In addition, it involves the initial work of two research ethics approved empirical studies, currently in progress, that form part of the the authors doctoral studies involving sample groups of graduates from an IHCD programme, and a foundation degree and BSc Honours degree at two UK universities.

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