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Clinical placements

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:


Medical and physical fitness testing

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 35kg, 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 perform a range of patient related tasks.

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.

Physical Demands

Recommended      Max Value

Dynamic Strength


35 Kilograms

Dynamic Strength

One Handed Carrying

12 Kilograms

Dynamic Strength


30 Kilograms

Dynamic Strength


23 Kilograms

Upper Limb


27 Kilograms





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?

Once accepted into the Bachelor of Paramedic Science you will be instructed to make an appointment with Corporate Health Group (CHG).

Advise them that you are a student enrolled in the Bachelor of Paramedic Science program, and that you need to book in for a Testing will usually take place during February and March.  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?

Testing will usually take place during February and March. It is advisable for students to undertake the testing as soon as they have received their SATAC offer.

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.


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. This means you can undertake 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. You will need to meet with the Course Coordinator.


All students must complete a series of immunisations before commencing placements.   Immunisation forms and information are available on the FLO Paramedic Course General Information page.


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.


NPC and Criminal history checks

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 NPC and criminal history screening checks. These screenings are managed through SAPOL and the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI). This screening is managed through the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI).


When should I apply for my NPS and Criminal Checks?

We will activate your DCSI application and send information regarding the NPC application process.

Start the application once you have received an email from the DSCI online system.

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.


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. Keep your original certificates in a safe place. The University does not receive copies and DCSI will not provide replacements.


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.


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 Once you have been in Australia for more than six months, you must apply for a criminal history screening check with the DCSI. 


SAAS Indemnity Form and SA Health Deed Poll

Students are required to sign the SAAS Observer Indemnity Form and the SA Health Deed Poll. 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.

General FAQs regarding clinical placements

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.


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.

Further information about placements and how to book will be available on the Paramedic General Information FLO page at the commencement of the semester.


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 Team Leader or supervisor know. They 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.