An exploration of perceptions and experiences of Australian paramedics following the introduction of professional regulation
International Journal of Health Governance
Purpose: Since 2018, Australian paramedics have been regulated under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) for health practitioners. Established professions have been regulated in Australia for some time, so there is limited knowledge of their entry to regulation. However, as paramedicine has not been previously centrally regulated, this provides a unique case study to explore the transition to regulated practice. Design/methodology/approach: Australian paramedics undertook two surveys: pre- and post-introduction of registration. The first survey was in the month leading up to the commencement of registration (N = 419), and the second survey took place 31 months after registration (N = 407). This paper presents the results of statistical analyses of the post-registration survey including comparisons to the pre-registration survey. Findings: Although support for regulation has increased over time, there remains strong dissent consistent with 2018 levels. After 31 months of regulation, respondents reported increasing knowledge of the scheme and greater ease of navigation. The impacts of regulation are more nuanced and less polarised than in the first survey. Identity is again canvassed, and results suggest a shift from employment status and qualifications as key elements of identity to a community of practice and registration. Originality/value: Paramedics' experiences and understanding of the rationale for registration are developing. Further support is needed to assist with the emerging professional identity and behaviours. Regulation is one of many occupational factors influencing professional identity and professionalism. Exploring the experience of regulation potentially assists regulators in better supporting practitioners and helps better understand professional evolution.
Open Access Status
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