Introduction: The “preparedness for practice” concept is challenging to quantify into a single construct. Previously it has been poorly defined within paramedic and healthcare research, with readiness terms such as “road ready”, “practice ready”, and “work ready” used synchronously. Professional accreditation standards and industry expectations suggests graduates are expected to be ready to practice independently on entry to the workforce despite studies identifying the expectation as unrealistic for novice practitioners.
Objective: The aim of this grounded theory study is to explore the development of a paramedic undergraduate preparedness for practice theory from an international, industry and academic perspective. The development of a contextual in-depth understanding of preparedness for practice from participants’ perceptions and experiences aims to narrow existing aperture in paramedicine while contributing to an evidence-base to support curriculums to maximise healthcare graduates’ preparedness.
Methods: Intensive face-to-face interviews explored the participants’ (n=16) perceptions of preparedness for practice and how theoretical knowledge is transferred into professional know-how. Qualitative data were explored using a social constructivist lens in Grounded Theory; open and focused coding allowed the theory to emerge from, and grounded within, the data
Results: A notable finding exposed the preparedness construct was shrouded by term confusion. Participants used readiness terms interchangeably despite perceiving each of the terms as a single concept. The findings also revealed levels readiness existed at specific points on a timeline of preparedness linked across the spectrum of readiness terms.
Conclusions: The preparedness for practice was found to be a long-term multidimensional construct associated with the transition to becoming a qualified paramedic within traditional provincial ambulance service. The timely findings of this research are significant as they add to the limited paramedicine body of literature concerning the construct of preparedness for professional practice.