Mulholland_whole_thesis.pdf (11.24 MB)
Interprofessional learning and rural paramedic practice
thesisposted on 2023-05-28, 12:40 authored by Peter Mulholland
There is a long history of collaboration between paramedics and other health care workers; yet little is known about the various ways in which paramedics and different health care professionals interact and convey meaning about an interprofessional approach. Accordingly, this study investigates interprofessional learning involving rural paramedic practice. Interprofessional learning is a process of integration and synthesis of knowledge between two or more professions, in order to solve problems or explore issues around patient care. Set across eight rural locations in the state of Tasmania, Australia, this study is an in-depth investigation of interprofessional learning amongst rural paramedics. A constructivist grounded theory (Charmaz, 2006) methodology was employed. Semi-structured interviews based on Critical Incident technique (CIT) were conducted with twenty-six participants, including paramedics, ambulance volunteers and other qualified health professionals. Data were analysed concurrently with, and informed, data generation, progressing through the cycles of initial, focused and theoretical coding based on emerging concepts. Three main concepts around interprofessional learning and rural paramedic practice were identified: relationships, cooperation and operational barriers. These findings led to the development of A theory of interprofessional learning and rural paramedic practice, that provides insight to the contexts and processes of interprofessional learning and paramedic practice in a rural setting. Implications for practice stem from the recognition that in rural health care settings, informal collaboration between paramedics and other health care workers enhances interprofessional learning and contributes to improved patient care. By adopting a proactive and strategic approach, which recognises the importance of these relationships, education providers can introduce programs that support the interprofessional nature of rural practice for paramedics, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Ambulance services can identify operational barriers to interprofessional practice and develop ways to eliminate these or minimise their impact. A limitation of the study was that data were specific to paramedic practice in selected rural settings of Tasmania. Opportunities exist for further investigation outside of Tasmania with larger samples and in other settings, including urban locations and using different methodologies. Further research should be conducted into the policy framework required to enable collaborative practice between different professionals; the processes involved in establishing relationships and cooperation among healthcare providers; and interprofessional differences between models of paramedic practice.