USC is seeking student Paramedics for research

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USC is seeking student Paramedics for research


13 February 2018

Undergraduate paramedic students are often on their provisional driver license while attending university, which increases their risk on the road, as they are young drivers who are inexperienced but are also required to perform complex driving manoeuvres. Coupled with an emergency, situation awareness skills of paramedic young novice drivers are particularly vital.

Project title

Situation Awareness of Paramedic Students and Experienced Paramedics.


Young novice drivers are at particular risk on the road, as it can take 3-5 years to develop experience-related driving skills such as situation awareness. Although Paramedic students are not permitted to perform driving tasks during clinical placement, they are in a position to drive an emergency vehicle once they complete their studies and acquire a Graduate Paramedic Internship Position. Paramedics are required to respond to emergency call outs and arrive at a location as soon as possible. This may involve driving up to 20Kph over the posted speed limit and executing complex driving manoeuvres, such as overtaking, driving on the wrong side of the road, and going through red lights. This can occur while the student is still on their provisional drivers licence, or soon after they have moved off their provisional driver licence.

Research Purpose

The specific aim of the research program is to explore situation awareness skills between two groups:

  1. USC Paramedicine students between the ages of 17-24 years who hold a provisional license (P plates), and;
  2. Licensed paramedics.

The results of this study will link in with the results from similar studies, looking at situation awareness of different groups of people (learner licence, provisional license, adults, etc.), which is essential for future research and intervention development in the field. So far, no research has looked at situational awareness skills of paramedic students with a provisional driver license.

Participant Experience

Participation in the study is voluntary and participants may withdraw at any stage, without explanation and there will be no consequences as a result. Participants will be invited to undertake two activities:

  1. A brief survey: You will be invited to complete a brief survey which asks general demographic questions (such as your age, gender, and driving experience), and includes other items which explore how you have been feeling lately and your usual driving behaviour. Please be aware that the survey includes questions related to illegal driving activity, such as how often you drove over the speed limit or drove through a red light. This information is unenforceable, will stay confidential and will not lead to any legal risk.
  2. An activity in a driving simulator: Before you start your activity, you will watch a short video and a demonstration of the verbal commentary activity you will need to perform in the driving simulator. Verbal commentary simply means speaking aloud about what you are paying attention to on a screen. You will then have an opportunity to practice the technique before being seated in a driving simulator. During the simulation activity, you will watch two driving scenarios. Your commentary will be recorded via an mp3 device and later transcribed verbatim for analysis.

Participation is completely voluntary and the will not be aware of who participates in the study and your grades will not be impacted no matter what you choose. Duration The surveys and consent form will take less 10 minutes to complete, and the verbal commentary demonstration and practice should be finished within 10 minutes. The driving simulation activity includes two 15 minute scenarios which will have a short break in between. You will be reimbursed for your time with a $20 Coles/Myer gift voucher. As such, please allow up to an hour for this activity.


Email Tom Astle, PhD candidate in the School of Social Sciences, with regards to participating in the research project.

Further contacts

Dr Bridie Scott-Parker (Chief Investigator), Adolescent Risk Research Unit (ARRU), University of the Sunshine Coast.

Confidentiality: Only Dr Scott-Parker and her Research Assistants, Mrs Kate English and Mr Tyrone Huckstepp will have access to the transcripts, which will be stored on a password-protected computer, and surveys, which will be stored in a locked filing cabinet, at the University of the Sunshine Coast. The data collected from you in the survey and in the simulator may be used in future research projects; however no other researchers will have access to this data.

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