An integral component of the Bachelor of Paramedic Science degree program are clinical placements which involve on-the-job experience with the SA Ambulance Service.
The purpose of clinical placements is to provide the essential experience of working in the pre-hospital emergency and non-emergency care environments.
Preparing for placement
Before you undertake your clinical placements, you must complete the following prerequisites:
- Submit your updated contact details
- Pass your medical and physical fitness assessment
- Pass all components of your manual skills training session
- Submit your 2017 Immunisation Form
- Complete your Criminal History Check
- Submit a signed SAAS Indemnity Form and a SA Health Deed Poll
- Have the appropriate student placement uniform
- Ensure that your ID photo has been taken by a Paramedic Unit staff member
- Be in receipt of an Authority to Undertake Clinical Placements letter
All new students and continuing students with changes are required to submit any changes to their contact details please submit your details online by March 6.
It is necessary to be medically and physically fit in order to meet the requirements for your ambulance placements. SAAS has a duty of care to ensure that students are capable of undertaking placements without causing undue risk to themselves and/or others. All students accepting a place in the Bachelor of Paramedic Science course are required to undertake and pass a medical and physical fitness assessment.
What do the assessments involve?
The medical component of the assessment is performed by a medical practitioner and involves taking a general medical history and performing a number of functional tests.
The physical fitness assessment is conducted by a physiotherapist who assesses things like muscle strength and endurance, fitness, flexibility, and the students ability to lift, push, pull, bend, stoop, squat, kneel and reach. The force measurements are based on real-life tasks that paramedics are required to perform.
For example, you will be required to lift a box which will gradually be made heavier with weights. The minimum lift requirement of this test is 41kg, which must be lifted to bench height. The dynamic lift of the weighted box is primarily based on the force required to lift the head end of a laden stretcher from half height to full height. It also reflects other tasks that paramedics do, like lifting and carrying laden spinal boards. The static push and pull demands are based on the forces required to load and unload laden stretchers, and to slide patients onto slide sheets or spinal boards. The grip strength minimum requirements are based on the force required to operate the stretcher levers.
Students will be required to complete the medical component of the assessment and the physical fitness assessment on the same day. It is advisable to allow two to three hours for the testing.
Are the tests difficult?
Different students may find different components of the tests challenging. Some of the tests that students have had difficulty with in previous years are the ground-to-bench lift; grip strength; general low fitness levels; poor overall strength; poor manual skills techniques.
Tip: if you don't understand the instructions that the physiotherapist gives you regarding how to perform an exercise or test, don't hesitate to ask for clarification.
How do I make an appointment for my tests?
Telephone the Corporate Health Group (CHG) on (08) 8354 9800.
Advise them that you are a student enrolled in the Bachelor of Paramedic Science program, and that you need to book in for a pre-scheduled appointment for a medical and physical fitness assessment.
CHG are located on the corner of Hughes Street and Railway Terrace, Mile End. This is the main centre for the testing and all SAAS staff and paramedic students are requested to attend this site.
Can I go to my own medical provider to do the testing?
No, you must go to the Corporate Health Group.
When do I need to do the testing?
It is advisable for students to undertake the testing as soon as they have received their SATAC offer. Applicants who are in any doubt as to whether they will pass the testing may wish to take the tests well before the SATAC closing date for changes of preference. By doing so, they would have the opportunity to reconsider their choice of preference in the event of failing the testing requirements.
Students who have a current injury/illness which they believe will prevent them from undertaking the testing following their acceptance of offer must obtain evidence from their medical provider stating that they are unable to complete the testing providing a date range the injury/illness will effect. This evidence must be submitted to the Paramedic Unit as soon as possible.
What cost is involved?
The total cost of the assessments is $266.75 to be payable on the day of the testing. All testing is at the students expense.
How will I know if I have passed the testing, and how long does it take before I am notified?
The Paramedic Unit office will email you to advise whether you have passed the testing. It can take a few weeks from the time you have the testing until we are advised whether you have passed.
What happens if I don't pass the testing on the 1st attempt?
- If you don't pass the testing the first time but would like to have another attempt, you should work on the areas that you need to improve on.
- Undertake your second attempt six to eight weeks after the first attempt and no later than June.
- If you pass on your 2nd attempt, you will be able to enrol in one of the manual skills training sessions that we hold in the July mid year break. This means you can do all of your placements in the second half of the year.
- There is a fee for a retest but usually the retest only addresses those areas that were not satisfactory in the previous test, so may be cheaper. Check the fee when you rebook.
What happens if I don't pass the testing on the 2nd attempt?
If you don't pass the testing on the second attempt, you will receive an Incomplete (I) grade for PARA1000, and you should not enrol in PARA1005. This is because you will not be able to fulfil the placement requirements which are attached to PARA1005.
You will have the opportunity to re-test again by 19 January 2018, however you will be required to meet with our Student Support Officer to amend your study plan as this will affect your progression.
All students who are participating in clinical placements must complete a SAAS/Flinders University manual skills training program.
When can I book in for my training?
You cannot enrol in the training program until you have been notified by our office that you have passed your medical and physical fitness testing.
How do I book in?
Via the Paramedic General Information FLO page (bookings will open at the commencement of the semester).
When will the sessions be held?
New students will need to attend a one day course. Dates will be advised at the beginning of the semester.
Sessions will commence at 8.30am and finish at 4.30pm. Students must wear their full placement uniform to the training.
Where do I get an immunisation form from?
I haven't completed all of my vaccinations. Can I still commence my placements?
Please refer to the immunisation form for full details, but basically you have to complete all of your immunisations with the exception of your second Hepatitis A vaccination and your third Hepatitis B vaccination. These vaccinations still need to be completed, but you should use a separate form for them. The forms are available from the Paramedic Office or via FLO.
You can also commence your clinical placements if the seasonal influenza vaccination is not yet available, but you MUST have the vaccination as soon as supplies are in stock. The influenza form is available from the Paramedic Office or via FLO.
Will the University cover the costs of my blood tests and consultation(s) with my medical provider?
No. Most students will be covered by Medicare for the cost of any consultations - check with your clinic. The Flinders University Health Service bulk bills for consultations.
SA Health require that all employees, volunteers and students on placements who will be in contact with children, young people, vulnerable adults and recipients of Aged Care Services to comply with State and National legislation requiring them to have a valid criminal history screening check. This screening is managed through the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI).
When should I apply for my Criminal Check?
Students should apply for their screening checks at the beginning of the semester. The checks can take up to 8 weeks to process. Failure to undertake your checks will result in you being unable to attend your clinical placements.
How do I apply for a Criminal History Check?
You should apply for your criminal history check online, instructions can be found in DCSI Online Screening Procedure (PDF 205KB)
Start the application once you have received an email from the DSCI online system which will be in the next few weeks.
The sections that you must complete are:
- Child-related Employment Screening
- Vulnerable Person Employment Screening
- Aged Care Sector Screening
- Disability Services Sector Screening
How much does it cost?
The total cost is $57.20 (GST inclusive) for students.
What happens after I have lodged my application?
When the screening process has been completed, you will receive a letter confirming that the clearances have been issued. You do not need to notify us as we have internal access to this data. Please keep these letters safely filed for future use when applying for positions.
What do I do if I lose my letters?
The University does not receive copies of your letters, and DCSI does not provide replacements, therefore you will need to re-apply and pay for them with DCSI.
How long do the clearances last for?
Clearance last for three years from the date of issue. If you commit and are charged with an offence before the 3 years are up, by law you must notify the Paramedic Unit.
Please note that you cannot reapply for clearances until within 6 months of expiry.
I already have a National Police Check - is this the same thing?
No. National Police Checks are no longer accepted by the SA Health. The difference between a police check and a criminal screening check is that the latter has an extra layer of checking included.
What happens if I'm not issued with a clearance?
If an area of concern is identified, DCSI will contact a representative of the University for further discussion.
I'm an International Student, do I still need to apply for a Criminal History Screening check?
Prior to enrolment, International students are requested to obtain a police check from their country of origin. If you do not possess this police check, you will be asked to arrange for one to be undertaken. Upon arrival in Australia, you need to contact the Paramedic Unit and provide evidence of your original police check. Once you have been in Australia for more than six months, you must apply for a criminal history screening check with the DCSI. Submit an online application once you have received an email from DCSI then take sufficient original documentation to satisfy the 100 point identification check to the Paramedic Unit, W250 Sturt Campus.
If you have any questions regarding the procedure, or need further clarification, please contact the Paramedic Unit on 08 8201 5512.
Students must submit a signed SAAS Indemnity Form and a SA Health Deed Poll to the Paramedic Unit office by March 10. The forms are available from the Paramedic office or can be downloaded here:
Students should also refer to the Flinders University insurance website regarding protection for enrolled students engaged in activities related to elective placements. Although point 4 of the observer indemnity form states that the student should provide SA Ambulance Service with proof of insurance cover prior to undertaking observations, there is no need for Flinders University students to do this - SAAS are already aware of the coverage.
Students must obtain the appropriate placement uniform. This uniform must also be worn during practical sessions and at other times when requested. Full details are available on the Uniform page .
A staff member from the Paramedic Unit will be taking student photos at the two in-house information sessions as well as during the first couple of weeks of the semester.
These student photos are for our internal database only. Photos for student ID cards are taken at the Central Library.
You cannot commence your placements until you have received an Authority to Undertake Clinical Placements Letter.
When will I receive my letter?
The letter will be emailed to you from the Paramedic Unit once you have completed all of your placement pre-requisites.
Do I have to take the letter with me when I go on my clinical placements?
Although you are not required to carry a copy of the letter with you when undertaking your clinical placements, you must keep a copy for your own records. SAAS will contact the Paramedic Unit direct if they have any questions regarding your authority to undertake clinical placements.
Do I need a new letter each year?
No - the authorisation remains effective for the period of time that you are enrolled in the course of study, or 3 years from the date of the letter (wichever occurs first).
Do all students need to do placements?
The majority of paramedic degree students are required to participate in placements. SAAS or interstate students may be exempt from some or all placements. If in doubt, please contact the Paramedic Unit office.
How many clinical placements do I need to complete, and what exactly do the different types of placements involve?
Paramedic degree placements are designed to give you valuable exposure and experience in a variety of emergency and non-emergency medical settings. Students work as a 'third' with their crew.
The following is an explanation of the different types of placements that you may be involved in:
- 1st Year: Patient Transport Services (PTS) and Emergency Support Services (ESS) placements. PTS vehicles are allocated for transport service work so that emergency ambulance crews can be kept free to attend to more serious cases. ESS vehicles are similar to PTS vehicles in that they are used for transport service work, however they are also used as Emergency vehicles if the need arises.
- 2nd and 3rd Year: Emergency placements. Emergency vehicles respond to every day call outs, as well as large scale emergencies.
The number of placements you are required to complete for each topic is provided in the Student Assessment Method for that topic. Placements are an assessable (non-graded pass - NGP) requirement of PARA1000, PARA1005, PARA2002, PARA2007, PARA3002 and PARA3007.
How do I book in for my ambulance placements?
Please refer to the Paramedic General Information FLO page at the commencement of the semester for full instructions.
I am a continuing student - when can I re-commence my placements?
Please refer to the Paramedic General Information FLO page at the commencement of the semester for full instructions.
How are the stations for the emergency placements worked out?
Most students are divided into North, South, East and West regions. These are then further divided into A, B, C and D teams. Some students may be assigned to fringe areas, which are located outside of the metropolitan area.
Students will also be required to complete country placements.
Students will be notified by the placement officer as to which team they have been assigned to, and how to contact their Area Clinical Team Leader (ACTL).
Do I remain with the same team in 2nd year that I was with in 1st year?
No. In 1st year you will be with PTS and ESS teams, and in 2nd year you will be with an emergency team.
Do I remain with the same team in 3rd year that I was with in 2nd year?
Allocation to teams is guided by the number of students in each year and the SAAS capacity to provide shifts. Students are not necessarily guaranteed to remain with the same team when they progress into third year.
Are there any placement prerequisites for continuing students?
- Complete the online form if there are changes to your contact details.
- You will need to have an influenza vaccination when the 2017 vaccination becomes available. Please get the 2017 form signed by your medical provider when you have the vaccination and submit it to the Paramedic Unit office. This form is available form our office or can be downloaded from our general FLO page.
- Second year students will need to complete a manual skills training session prior to undertaking placements. Refer to our general FLO page for bookings. However in third year, you can participate in placements before you have completed your manual skills refresher.
What should I do if I see or experience something that upsets me while I am on placement, or if I have an issue I wish to discuss?
If you experience something traumatic whilst on placement, you should immediately let your ACTL or supervisor know. The Peer Support Process will then ensure that you are followed up - initially by SAAS Peer Support (who will contact you) and then through stages of the process that apply to your situation.
It is important that you speak to someone as soon as any issues arise. Your concerns will be treated with respect and can be kept confidential. For enrolled students further detail about the Peer Support Process is provided in FLO.