The following abstract was developed during the 2012 Research Summit and presented at the 2012 NAEMSE Symposium in Orlando, FL.

When is a Paramedic Student a Competent Team Leader?

Keith Widmeier, CCEMT-P; Marshall Washick, NREMT-P;James Dinsch, MS, NREMT-P; Todd M. Cage, M.Ed., NREMT-P; Mike Mayne, BS; Steve Asche, MA

Introduction: The 1998 Paramedic National Standard Curriculum recommended students serve as a team leader at least 50 times. As EMS education transitions to a competency-based approach, it becomes imperative to identify the point at which paramedic students have demonstrated competency. The National Registry of EMTs Paramedic Psychomotor Competency Portfolio Package Project (NRPPCPP) defined team leadership competency as student success in 18 out of their last 20 attempts.

Hypothesis: Student success as a team leader on 18 out of the last 20 eligible runs is a reliable predictor of continued team leadership competency.

Methods: Five paramedic programs that used the FISDAP® (Headwaters Software Inc., St. Paul, MN) tracking system and participated in the NREMT PPPP were identified. Deidentified data from all students who had team lead records completed by both the student and preceptor were collected. IRB approval was obtained from Inver Hills Community College. The data was placed in contingency tables and association was tested using a Pearson chi-square test.

Results: The initial sample consisted of 439 paramedic students who operated as a team leader. 126 students with fewer than 20 attempts were excluded leaving 313 eligible students who had completed 20 or more team leads. 78% (301/313) were deemed successful by their preceptor in 18 out of their last 20 attempts. 33% met this goal in their first 20 attempts, while only 60% of students achieved competency by their 50th attempt. Analysis of students who attempted team leads after reaching initial competency showed students maintained the minimum 90% competency 87% of the time.

Conclusion: The standard of success in 18 out of the last 20 attempted team leads is a reliable predictor of continued student competency. Students may need more than the previously recommended 50 attempts to reach competency so programs should provide for sufficient team leadership opportunities.