The following abstract was developed during the 2011 Research Summit and had a poster at the 2011 NAEMSE Symposium in Reno, NV.

Is There an Ideal Number of Field Internship Patient Contacts to Predict EMT Student Success on a Summative EMT Exam?

Sara Houston, BS, AS, NREMT-P; Robert Gurliacci, B.P.S., NREMT-P; Barry Jensen, NREMT-P; Andy Lovell, NREMT-P; Sara Richter, M.S., EMT-B; Benjamin Hantchett, NREMT-B; Moria Kanarian, B.A.; Louise Briguglio, B.A.

Introduction: The National EMS Education Standards recommend that Emergency Medical Technician students (EMTS) obtain ten patient assessments in clinical settings. It is not known whether adhering to this prescribed amount promotes competence.

Hypothesis: There is a correlation between the number of field patient contacts and the overall scores on a summative cognitive EMT exam.

Methods: This study correlated field hours, field contacts, hospital hours, or hospital contacts to FISDAP’s overall EMT Readiness Exam (ERE) scores using a multivariate regression model. Results predicted ERE scores under different scenarios of student experience. Also compared were the field contacts and hospital hours to only the critical thinking items (CTI). Inclusion criteria were FISDAP EMT accounts, clinical experience preceding the ERE, and first attempt ERE only within three months of clinical completion.

Results: Data collected from students March 2007–February 2011 (n=1265) revealed field contacts (p<0.001) were predictive of higher scores as in the previous study. However, hospital hours (p<0.001) were predictive of lower scores. Highest predicted scores correlated with 15 field contacts and 12 clinical hours (score=143). Ten field contacts and 12 clinical hours yielded similar results (score=140). The same trends held for the CTI (CTI=110, 108 respectively).

Conclusion: A correlation exists between patient contacts in the field and summative EMT exam scores. Ten field contacts do not appear to be enough. Interestingly, hospital hours above 12 may be detrimental to exam scores.