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The law and ethics of paramedic management of mental health patients

About The Event

The law and ethics of paramedic management of mental health patients

This panel discussion, chaired by Dr. Ruth Townsend, will explore the, at times, confusing legal and ethical area of paramedic management of mental health patients. Experts including Dr Louise Roberts will discuss how broad legal definitions can cause difficulties for paramedics in interpreting and applying the law; and the impact limited mental health education can have on paramedic preparedness for managing mental health patients. Professor Michael Eburn will unpack the often confusing ethical and legal mental health framework dilemma, including the issues that arise for paramedics when a competent mental health patient refuses treatment the paramedic believes is in their best interest; and Robert Bear will discuss the paramedic experience of managing these patients in an often time critical, highly charged emotional environment. Paramedic Reenie Lowe will also join the panel.

Further information

Thursday 27th August 2020, 15:00 AEST.

The webinar will be held online via Zoom.

Please register via the "Tickets" tab.


Dr. Ruth Townsend

Dr Townsend was a paramedic with Ambulance Service of NSW before becoming a lawyer and now academic at Charles Sturt University responsible for the paramedic law and ethics program. She is an author and co-editor of the text, 'Applied paramedic law, ethics and professionalism.' Dr Townsend was a member of the board of the Australian and New Zealand College of Paramedicine that oversaw the merger with the ACP.

Dr. Michael Eburn

Dr Eburn is a former NSW Ambulance officer and legal officer with NSW Health. Since 1994 he’s been an academic first at UNE then ANU researching and writing on emergency services law. He is most well known for his blog – Australian Emergency Law. Dr Eburn served on the board of Paramedics Australasia and assisted in the merger to form the ACP.

Dr. Louise Roberts

Dr Louise Roberts’s main interest and principle research expertise is in the out-of-hospital management of mental health presentations. Her PhD explored how paramedics identify, assess and manage psychiatric presentations in the community. Dr Louise Roberts has led and contributed to narrative literature reviews into the management of low acuity presentations in the pre-hospital setting for the Victorian Ambulance Service. She has collaborated on national research into men’s lived experience with mental health and paramedics understanding of mental health and AOD presentations (Beyondblue and Turning Point Drug and Alcohol Centre). She has also conducted research into State and Territory Mental Health Acts and how paramedics are represented in those Acts and how this has informed the development of clinical practice guidelines. Recently she has contributed to research into PTSD and its effects on partners of veterans and emergency first responders and current research addresses the physical, psychological, psychobiological and psychosocial health of operational ambulance staff. She has been lecturing in mental health (since 2007) and paramedic science (since 2012). She has published and presented in this area.

Robert Bear

Robert Bear has been a Paramedic for 26 years having worked and trained in NSW & The United Arab Emirates. Rob joined NSW Ambulance in 1993 as a Registered Nurse looking for something a little more dynamic and exciting but has remained registered in nursing throughout his paramedic career. He has been involved in multiple clinical and management roles in varied settings including participation in the proof of concept trial of Extended Care Paramedic Practice in 2008 seeing it through to operation. During his time in the UAE, Rob trained and completed certification & licensure at international Advanced Care Paramedic level. Presently Rob is working full-time at CSU lecturing in the paramedic program and continues to practice as a casual paramedic with ANSW. Rob is an early career researcher at CSU who is presently working on a PhD research project which is examining the current state of Mental Health Education within Paramedicine.

Reenie Lowe

Reenie Lowe is currently a registered paramedic and is undertaking a PhD examining paramedics decision-making and practices using mental health protective jurisprudence. In addition to her paramedicine degree, Reenie completed a post-graduate Law degree at Sydney University, has a Masters Degree in Adult Education from Southern Cross University and Bachelor of Communications from UTS. Reenie has had a varied career, working in the private sector, as well as in all levels of government in the learning and development, human resources, health and safety and regulatory sectors. Prior to commencing as a full-time paramedic in 2017, Reenie ran her own educational consultancy specializing in workplace education which she established in 1995.

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Event Information

27th Aug 2020
15:00 – 16:10 (UNKNOWN)

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