Defining the paramedic process

Holly Carter, James Thompson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)


    The use of a 'process of care' is well established in several health professions, most evidently within the field of nursing. Now ingrained within methods of care delivery, it offers a logical approach to problem solving and ensures an appropriate delivery of interventions that are specifically suited to the individual patient. Paramedicine is a rapidly advancing profession despite a wide acknowledgement of limited research provisions. This frequently results in the borrowing of evidence from other disciplines. While this has often been useful, there are many concerns relating to the acceptable limit of evidence transcription between professions. To date, there is no formally recognised 'process of care'-defining activity within the pre-hospital arena. With much current focus on the professional classification of paramedic work, it is considered timely to formally define a formula that underpins other professional roles such as nursing. It is hypothesised that defined processes of care, particularly the nursing process, may have features that would readily translate to pre-hospital practice. The literature analysed was obtained through systematic searches of a range of databases, including Ovid MEDLINE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health. The results demonstrated that the defined process of care provides nursing with more than just a structure for practice, but also has implications for education, clinical governance and professional standing. The current nursing process does not directly articulate to the complex and often unstructured role of the paramedic; however, it has many principles that offer value to the paramedic in their practice. Expanding the nursing process model to include the stages of Dispatch Considerations, Scene Assessment, First Impressions, Patient History, Physical Examination, Clinical Decision-Making, Interventions, Re-evaluation, Transport Decisions, Handover and Reflection would provide an appropriate model for pre-hospital practices.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)22-26
    Number of pages5
    JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • ambulance
    • emergency medical services
    • EMS
    • nursing process
    • paramedic role
    • pre-hospital care.


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