Flight Intensive Care Paramedic, St John Ambulance Service
Doctor of Philosophy
His PhD research will help advance the paramedicine profession, says health sciences alumnus Dr Paul Davis.
“In New Zealand, paramedicine is an emerging discipline and critically under-researched. Evidence to inform paramedic practice is scarce, necessitating generalising from other areas of healthcare practice which is often considered in a de-contextualised manner.
“By becoming the first operational New Zealand paramedic to obtain a PhD in paramedicine and through role-modelling research practice, I wanted to help advance our profession and inspire other paramedics to become both consumers and producers of research. My ultimate goal is to obtain a strategic position within the ambulance sector to be able influence the clinical direction of paramedicine in New Zealand.”
New approaches for heart attack patients
Paul’s PhD research focused on testing a new autonomous paramedic-based model of care for the treatment and management of heart attack patients in the New Zealand out-of-hospital setting.
“The results show significant improvements among all treatment timeline metrics in favour of our autonomous paramedic approach, compared to previous physician-assisted telemetry-based systems. These findings address several failings within our current healthcare system in the management of heart attack patients, while making a significant contribution to paramedicine, both nationally and abroad. This research has the capacity to inform multidisciplinary policies and bring about meaningful clinical practice change in New Zealand.”
He collaborated with a number of high-profile health organisations for his research.
“My doctoral research provided an opportunity to work in collaboration with New Zealand’s largest ambulance provider, St John; the Northland, Auckland and Hawke’s Bay District Health Boards; and the country’s leading interventional cardiology department at Auckland City Hospital.
“It encouraged interdisciplinary research activity and served to promote the important role of paramedics in the acute out-of-hospital setting, while providing opportunities to build research capacity and encourage research workforce development within the field of paramedicine in New Zealand.”
An opportunity to contribute
He enjoyed the support and structure provided by AUT throughout his postgraduate study, Paul says.
“I would strongly recommend the Doctor of Philosophy programme to others. For those who are motivated to engage in this level of study, it provides an immense opportunity to make a significant contribution to one’s field of practice. The staff are easily accessible and efficient in their roles, making the process that much easier.”
Being able to share his work with other health professionals was one of the highlights of Paul’s studies.
“I was very fortunate to be able to travel and present my work at several national and international conferences, and to be awarded two prestigious New Zealand Health Research Council scholarships.”