Work readiness in paramedic graduates: what are employers looking for?

Background: This study investigated the perceptions of employers on workplace readiness of paramedic graduates from Australian paramedic education programmes. Objective: The investigators sought an understanding of what skills and knowledge are required by employers from a graduate paramedic in order to inform educators and improve the work preparedness capabilities of graduates of Australia paramedic education programmes. Design: In-depth, one-on-one, semi-structured, qualitative interviews were carried out in person or by telephone. Study participants: Senior operational and educational personnel representatives from Australian employers of paramedic degree graduates. Analysis and main outcome measures: Interview data from 11 interviews was analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Employers perceived new graduates to be work ready for supervised practice, but not independent practice. Employers understood work readiness along a continuum of skill development, and that this was developed in partnership with universities. Graduate attributes were highly desired by employers, and were seen to align well with organisational values. Employers reported that university graduates often lacked significant life experience and clinical experiences relevant to the work environment; however, they understood that it was the employers role to adapt to this and to provide and support the integration of these developing experiences in the clinical setting. Conclusions: This study provides new insight into the expectations and observations of paramedic employers within Australia. The results from this study may inform further educational and professional development opportunities resulting in improvements within the field of paramedicine.

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