Paramedic academics in Australia and New Zealand: The ‘no man's land’ of professional identity
Munro, GG, O'Meara, P & Mathisen, B 2018, 'Paramedic academics in Australia and New Zealand: The ‘no man's land’ of professional identity', Nurse Education in Practice, vol. 33, pp. 33-36.
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Those transitioning from practice to academia can struggle with the perception that they might lose their hard-won and deeply-held professional identity, while grappling with the difficulty of creating an academic identity. This is a common experience for those entering universities with strong clinical identities. Paramedics, as members of an emerging health profession, share these challenges with nursing and allied health professionals. In this study of paramedic academics in Australia and New Zealand, a majority did not consider themselves to still be paramedics on the basis that they were no longer clinically active. Nor did they consider themselves to be academics as most lacked doctoral qualifications and associated scholarly achievements that made them feel worthy of a place in the ‘academy’. This lack of a professional identity as either a paramedic or an academic places them in a ‘no man's land’ of professional identity. Many are unable to effectively fuse their paramedic and academic identities to become comfortable as ‘paramedic academics’. For this to change, there needs to be a partnership between the paramedicine discipline and universities to ensure that paramedics entering academia have a recognised and valued career pathway and are better prepared to make the transition to academia.