Objective: To describe the experience of the paramedics doing the population health component of the Graduate Certificate in Rural and Remote Paramedic Practice.
Design: Analysis of paramedics' reported opinions about the course and its impact.
Setting: Primary care.
Participants: Data were obtained from de-identified surveys submitted by the paramedics at the beginning and the end of the population health component of the course.
Results: All paramedics felt that after the course they were more committed to undertaking population health activities in their work and were better prepared to do so. As a result of undertaking the course, 73% of students have already changed their practice. Seventy-five per cent agreed that doing the course would increase the likelihood of staying in rural and remote areas and all agreed that doing the course resulted in increased job satisfaction. The majority (87%) of the students rated the course as excellent or very good and all of them said that they would recommend the course to others.
Conclusions: These results suggest that rural and remote paramedics have the opportunity and desire to incorporate more health promotion and prevention into their practice and that this course has provided them with the skills and knowledge to do so. The curriculum is based on National Health Priority Areas focusing in particular on lifestyle change to prevent and manage chronic disease. This means that in rural and remote areas, all health professionals can use a common framework to work together to enhance primary health care and chronic disease management as a multidisciplinary team.