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PhD Studentship: How Do Paramedics Make Ethical Decisions in Practice?

University of East Anglia

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Norwich
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £18,622 Competition Funded Project (Home and International)
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 31st October 2023
Closes: 15th January 2024
Reference: DEANEK_U24FMH

Introduction

Paramedic practice is inherently complex, with practitioners often working in relative isolation, with patients with any diagnosis, in uncontrolled environments. Not only do practitioners have to identify the best clinical interventions for their patients, but they also have to place these decisions in the context of social inequality, and a restricted NHS provision after years of austerity. 

Complaints against paramedics are made at a disproportionately high rate and predominantly focus on issues of conduct, performance, and ethics, rather than matters of clinical competence. This project will investigate the ethical frameworks used by paramedics to explain and defend morally challenging clinical decisions. 

Aim

To explore how paramedics make ethical decisions in practice. 

Objectives and Methods

Set up a steering group to inform the project’s conduct with representatives from patients, carers, paramedics, lecturers, and management.

Systematic review of philosophical and ethical approaches to paramedicine. 

Survey to explore the current use of ethical frameworks in paramedic practice and decision making.

Focus groups and interviews with student and trained paramedics to explore their experiences of making ethically challenging decisions, and how ethical and philosophical approaches help inform them.

Impact

This project will inform the paramedic community on how to improve ethically challenging decision making in practice. It is hoped this will lead to an improvement in the quality and acceptability of care for patients and reduce the incidence of complaints to the professional regulator. It is likely that this project will have relevance to other healthcare professions ethical practice.  

Research methodology

Systematic review, mixed methods survey, qualitative focus groups and interviews. 

Training

PGR training facilities and relevant MSc modules. An Associate Tutor contract will be offered to allow development of teaching expertise. 

Person specification 

Essential

  • An interest in matters relating to ethical and professional practice.
  • HCPC Registered Paramedic.
  • Undergraduate degree (2:1 or above).
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • Good project and time management skills. 

Desirable

  • Master’s degree.
  • Experience in research.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to email k.deane@uea.ac.uk for a discussion prior to applying.

This PhD project is in a Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences competition for funded studentships. These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise UK (Home) fees, an annual stipend of £18,622 and £1,000 per annum for research training (RTSG). International applicants may apply but are required to secure additional funding to fund the difference between UK and overseas tuition fees (visit: https://www.uea.ac.uk/study/fees-and-funding/fees for details of Home and Overseas fee rates).

Primary Supervisor: Katherine Deane

Start Date: October 2024

For more information on this project, please visit https://www.uea.ac.uk/search/courses/

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