Paramedic education: Important developments in 2012–13

The curriculum guidanceSince 2004, the college has made a key contribution to paramedic education through its curriculum guidance and competencies framework, which is currently undergoing its third revision and reflects the rapid evolution of the paramedic role. It will provide higher education institutions (HEIs) and other stakeholders with a comprehensive curriculum to prepare paramedics in the UK as they move through education, training and the early stages of professional practice.A great deal of paramedic expertise from across the UK has been put into the development of the third edition which will be published in March 2013. This includes stakeholder consultation events attended by representatives from higher education institutions and ambulance service employers. The Governing Council of the College firmly believe that this document provides the best available advice for those delivering paramedic education and training and that adherence to it by education providers and employers of new registrants will enhance the quality of paramedical services; throughout the UK. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, this guidance can give service users wherever they are in the country, the information they need to ensure that paramedics have been prepared for practice through an effective collaboration that has involved education providers, employers, and the paramedics’ professional body.The curriculum guidance and competencies framework has developed rapidly from the first (2004) and second (2008) editions that have reflected the transition to and development of the profession. This third edition brings with it some important changes. Firstly the curriculum guidance will be published separately to the competencies framework since the latter requires more frequent review and updating than the former. Second, it acknowledges the expansion in the breadth of care delivered, with particular reference to specialist paramedic management of undifferentiated care needs, and the knowledge and skills of paramedic practitioners who provide this function. It also carries out a similar role in respect of critical care paramedics. These two new specialist roles are likely to be joined by further role development in the future.Education providers will recognise that the curriculum guidance has been significantly revised and reflects the expanding scope of practice of paramedics, whether at registration level or in specialist practice. It also contains guidance in relation to the leadership and support necessary to the development of effective registrants. The guidance aims to assist employers by ensuring student paramedics and newly qualified registrants have the opportunities to better adapt to their new professional role in a supportive environment that increases their confidence and promotes autonomous practice, while minimising the risk of unsafe practice. Most importantly, the curriculum guidance complements statutory requirements by providing guidance from the paramedic professions’ perspective. In this sense the College of Paramedics acts as the guardian of the uniqueness and distinctiveness of the profession. It also enables the experience and expertise of paramedics to be directly assimilated into document form.The Council of the College of Paramedics appreciates the many contributions made to the development of the third edition. Senior members of the college and their colleagues in national and regional groups have worked voluntarily and tirelessly to produce this guidance. Equally important to the process has been the guidance from key stakeholders from education providers and employers.In summary, this third edition expands on previous work, not only by providing a significant updating of the core curriculum but through the inclusion of new sections which reflect the expanding role of paramedics throughout the UK.

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