Perceptions of ethical dilemmas in Australian paramedicine

Background: Paramedics experience a range of ethical dilemmas in the course of their work. To date, ethical dilemmas by Australian paramedics have not been documented. With the scope of practice becoming increasingly complex, paramedic education may not have evolved to meet holistic professional demands. Aim: To describe the ethical dilemmas experienced by contemporary Australian paramedics. Methods: An online survey, based on a previous instrument, was used to explore a range of ethical dilemmas. Findings: Paramedics face a range of ethical dilemmas in their everyday practice. While several demographic variables were associated with different perceptions, the results of this study highlight that a paramedic's years of experience is most consistently associated with their perception of ethical dilemmas. Conclusion: Australian paramedics experience a range of ethical dilemmas consistent with previous international findings.Years of experience in the profession features heavily and is relied upon more so than education, suggesting that educational approaches to ethics education in paramedicine need to be reconsidered.

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