Occupational risks in undergraduate student paramedic clinical placements

Tegwyn McManamny, Leanne Boyd, Jade Sheen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Undergraduate paramedic students may be exposed to a range of occupational hazards while undertaking clinical placements, possibly impacting their health and wellbeing. Objective: To investigate paramedic students' experiences of occupational risks during clinical placements. Design: Questionnaire and focus groups undertaken by undergraduate students currently enrolled in a prehospital Bachelor degree at Australian universities. Results: One hundred and twenty two students completed the questionnaire; 12 students participated in focus groups. Thirteen students (10.7%) reported verbal abuse while on ambulance clinical placements, five students (4.1%) reported physical assault and six students (4.9%) reported exposure to sexualised behaviour. Fourteen students (11.5%) reported experiencing significant distress and five (4.1%) reported incurring an injury or illness. However, students overwhelmingly regard clinical placements as pivotal to their paramedic pre-employment education, and perceive occupational risks as inherent to the dynamic prehospital environment. Official reporting of incidents or their impact on students is imperceptible. Conclusion: A small but significant number of students report emotional or psychological distress due to occupational risk factors. Clinical placements are an important tool in clinical education but they must be supported to ensure student wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-50
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Health, Safety and Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Clinical placement
  • Paramedic
  • Risk
  • Student

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