Paramedic practice is highly variable, occurs in diverse contexts, and involves the assessment and management of a range of presentations of varying acuity across the lifespan. As a result, attempts to define paramedic practice have been challenging and incomplete. This has led to inaccurate or under-representations of practice that can ultimately affect education, assessment, and the delivery of care. In this study, we outline our efforts to better identify, explore, and represent professional practice when revising a national competency framework for paramedics in Canada. Methods We used a systems thinking approach to identify the settings, contexts, features, and influences on paramedic practice in Canada. This approach makes use of the role and influence of system features at the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, supra-macro system, and chronosystem levels in ways that can provide new insights. We used methods such as rich pictures, diagramming, and systems mapping to explore relationships between these contexts and features. Findings When we examine the system of practice in paramedicine, multiple layers become evident and within them we start to see details of features that ought to be considered in any future competency development work. Our exploration of the system highlights that paramedic practice considers the person-receiving care, caregivers, and paramedics. It involves collaboration within co-located and dispersed teams that are composed of other health and social care professionals, public safety personnel, and others. Practice is enacted across varying geographical, cultural, social, and technical contexts, and is subject to multiple levels of policy, regulatory, and legislative influence. Conclusion Using a systems thinking approach, we developed a detailed systems map of paramedic practice in Canada. This map can be used to inform the initial stages of a more representative, comprehensive, and contemporary national competency framework for paramedics in Canada.

Batt, A.M.; Lysko, M.; Bolster, J.L.; Poirier, P.; Cassista, D.; Austin, M.; Cameron, C.; Donnelly, E.A.; Donelon, B.; Dunn, N.; Johnston, W.; Lanos, C.; Lunn, T.M.; Mason, P.; Teed, S.; Vacon, C.; Tavares, W. Identifying Features of a System of Practice to Inform a Contemporary Competency Framework for Paramedics in Canada. Preprints 2024, 2024031503.