Australian paramedics are employed to provide high quality pre-hospital emergency medical care within each of the States and Territories of Australia. Each state is funded separately, and paramedics are employed, trained, and certified by different governing bodies within each state. This unfortunately means that highly qualified Intensive Care Paramedics from NSW are not necessarily able to transfer their skills to be an Advanced Life Support paramedic in QLD or Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance Paramedics in Victoria.
In practice, paramedics are respected well from each State and can easily gain employment in different States, but usually have to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and at least a 6 month probationary period.
The level of training and paramedical skills differ from each state. In NSW the entire state’s public Ambulance Service is funded by the state’s health budget and provides paramedics for both metropolitan and rural areas. Comparatively, paramedics in Western Australia are only state funded within the metropolitan regions, while the rural areas are community funded and run by volunteers, who commit large amounts of time to training and providing (free of charge) pre-hospital emergency health care.
What Skills Can Australian Paramedics Perform?
Each Ambulance Service within Australia is governed by their specific protocols or clinical practice guidelines developed by their individual Medical Director. However, in general Australian paramedics can perform a variety of advanced paramedical skills.
General Qualified Ambulance Paramedics require 3-4 years training and are able to perform the following skills:
1. LMA insertion
2. Defibrillation in manual mode
4. IV cannulation
5. IM/ SC injections
General Qualified Ambulance Paramedics can utilise various drug regimes to treat their patients such as:
Adrenaline 1:1000, Adrenaline 1:10,000, Aspirin, GTN, Glucose Gel, Glucose 10%, Dextrose 50:50, Metoclopramide, Ondansetron, Stemetyl, Ipratropium Bromide, Salbutamll, Oxygen, Midazolam, Naloxone, Benzyl Penicillan, Ceftriaxone, Morphine, Fentanyl, and Methoxyflurane.
Most Ambulance Services also have an Intensive Care Paramedic program and these paramedics are able to perform advanced paramedical skills such as:
1. Chest decompression through thoracentesis.
3. Rapid Sequence Intubation
4. Synchronised cardioversions (for patients in rapid atrial fibrilation)
Intensive Care Paramedics also have a wider range of drug regimes to treat their patients such as:
1. Atropine, Adenosine, Lignocaine, Sodium Bicarbonate, Calcium Gluconate, Ketamine, Rocuronium, Vecuronium, Suxamethonium, and Thiopental.
Australian Paramedics are considered well trained by International Standards and are well positioned to gain employment as paramedics overseas. Paramedics in Australia are also keen researchers and many Ambulance Services have their own Ambulance Research Institutes that focus on improving the knowledge base of paramedical practice and paramedical sciences.
Australian Paramedic Registration
Currently, there is no one Australian Paramedic Registration such as the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) in the USA. There has been discussions about Australia adopting a similar system, but as yet no Ambulance Service within Australia has committed to the project.