A student perspective: newly qualified paramedic programme

ExperienceWithout doubt, NQPs lack experience. However, this does not preclude the fact that an NQP is still a registered paramedic, and must act in accordance with the paramedic standards of proficiency (Health Care Professions Council, 2014). As experience and expertise develop, clinical decision-making improves (Donn, 2017). Smith et al (2013), established that paramedics of all experience levels were aware of critical time pressures, but that more experienced paramedics were better at resource management and developing rapid treatment strategies.Moreover, Thompson (2015) found that NQPs lack confidence due to experience and exposure during pre-registration mentorship. Although a small qualitative sample, this demonstrates that transitioning to a lead clinician might require continued development post registration. However, in essence, this declares that university programmes are insufficient in providing adequate training to autonomous practice. Kennedy et al (2015) support this claim, finding in a small literature review that feelings of being out-of-depth were a common theme. This is similarly reflected in other healthcare professions such as nursing, where such feelings are allayed with improved confidence, competence and knowledge during transitional programmes (Rush et al, 2013; Edwards et al, 2015).A counter argument is that current student paramedics are exposed to many more multi-professional learning opportunities (Jennings and Rae, 2016), at a time where pre-registration paramedic programmes are at their longest, resulting at bachelors of Science level graduates (Williams et al, 2016). Additionally, Alexander et al (2009) found a negative correlation between American paramedics' commitment to an organisation and level of study, citing that increased factors of autonomy, responsibility, and intellectual challenge may play a role in the poor organisational retention of paramedics at bachelors level. Research should further investigate these factors within the UK.

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