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BEH3051 - Paramedic management of Mental Health Illness

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: TBA


Peninsula First semester 2007 (Day)


This unit continues to develop the role of the paramedic as a clinician. It builds on the model of paramedic clinical competence developed in BEH2103 and elaborated in BED2012 and BEH2022. Acute and chronic medical mental health problems commonly encountered by paramedics are investigated. The unit is case-based, integrating material from the five themes and the underpinning biomedical, social and clinical sciences, and including clinical skills, laboratory and simulation scenarios to develop essential communication, assessment and management clinical skills, and clinical problem solving and decision-making competencies. The unit will be supplemented by the clinical placement unit BEH3031.


By the completion of this unit, the student should be able to:

  1. describe the aetiological factors, epidemiology and clinical manifestations of selected mental health disorders;
  2. describe the epidemiology, population health, natural history, and pathology related to mental illness commonly encountered in paramedic practice;
  3. discuss ethical issues which relate to mental illness;
  4. locate and evaluate the evidence-base that informs the paramedic management of acute and chronic mental health conditions across the lifespan;
  5. communicate effectively with people who are experiencing disturbances of thoughts, feelings and behaviour;
  6. demonstrate mental status assessment as applied to paramedic practice;
  7. interpret and apply legislation and clinical practice guidelines relating to the management of patients with mental health emergencies;
  8. utilise the model of paramedic clinical competence to integrate and apply theoretical knowledge and clinical skills to the assessment and management of patients with selected mental health emergencies;
  9. use appropriate therapeutic interventions, selected cognitive and behavioural techniques to manage mental health emergencies;
  10. identify the factors that contribute to the mental health of individuals within family units and apply this knowledge to the care of patients as well as families and carers of individuals with mental health problems;
  11. describe the role of the paramedic and allied health professionals in providing community-based emergency health care aimed at managing mental health emergencies within a given cultural context;
  12. evaluate the importance of clinical research and the role of the paramedic in research that informs clinical practice.


Written assignment (2000 words): 35%
Examination (2 hours): 50%
Tutorial worksheets: 15%
Objective Structured Clinical Examination: Pass/Fail

Contact hours

12 hours per week including contact time and private study, averaged over the 13 week semester - a total of 156 hours.