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Two successive simulated paramedic night shifts: The challenges and opportunity of innovative experiential learning in Higher Education

Thursday 4 July: Conference day two, 4:15pm – 4:45pm parallel session



Room 2 – 303-G14, Sem



Alecka Miles
Edith Cowan University, Australia

Sarah Hansen
Edith Cowan University, Australia

Dr Lisa Holmes
Edith Cowan University, Australia

Dr Brennen Mills
Edith Cowan University, Australia



Criticism surrounds the paramedic profession and other healthcare professions regarding the efficacy of Australian universities in preparing graduates who are ‘job ready’ (1-3). An emerging theme in the literature is that graduates lack essential communication and interpersonal skills, on-road experience (in clinical placement) and often the maturity required to undertake shift work and the professional role of a paramedic (4). In 2007, West et al (5) discovered that new nursing graduates had considerable difficulty adapting to shift work and the associated lifestyle effects, and Willis et al (4) reported this to be true for graduate paramedics. However, no studies have investigated the perceived value toward the learning of undergraduate paramedic students during a simulated paramedic night shift.

The simulation involved participants undertaking two consecutive night shifts where student paramedic crews were ‘dispatched’ to simulated cases around campus including medical, trauma and mental health emergencies. The patients were then assessed, treated and transported to ‘hospital’, before students being dispatched to the next case. The aim of the present study was to evaluate participants’ satisfaction with the simulation, and perceived value to their learning particularly in reference to realism and apparent value of integrating the exercise into the standard undergraduate curricula.

A total of 12 undergraduate paramedic students were recruited for this study in order to participate in two successive simulated paramedic night shifts. Student satisfaction and perceived value towards learning was measured using an online survey the day after each simulation. 

12/12 (100%) of participants completed the online survey on the days after their completed night shifts. Survey data suggested that the two successive night shift simulation was enjoyable, that participants perceived the experience to be realistic about real life paramedic practice and that a valuable learning experience that should incorporated into undergraduate curricula.



  1. O’Brien, K., Moore, A., Hartley, P. & Dawson, D. Lessons about work readiness from final year paramedic students in an Australian university. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine. 2014; 10(4).
  2. Thompson, J., Grantham, H., & Houston D. Paramedic capstone education model: Building work ready graduates. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine. 2015; 12(3).
  3. Gibson, B., & Brightwell, R. The Developments in Paramedical Science and the Implications of National and International Accreditation in Alliance with Ambulance Authorities. Paper presented at the EDU-COM 2006 Engagement and Empowerment, Thailand.
  4. Willis, E., Williams, B., Brightwell, R.F., O’Meara, P., & Pointon, T. Road-ready paramedics and the supporting sciences curriculum. Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-disciplinary Journal. 2010; 11(2):1-13.
  5. West, S.H., Ahern, M., Byrnes, M., & Kwanten, L. New graduate nurses adaptation to shift work: Can we help? Collegian. 2007; 14(10): 23-30


Presentation topic

Academics – Changing Academic Practice

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