The following abstract was developed during the 2013 Research Summit and presented at the 2013 NAEMSE Symposium in Washington, DC.

Lights! Siren! Learning? Paramedic Student Exposure to Prehospital Emergency Patient Contacts Improves Summative Exam Scores

David Page, MS, NREMT-P; Melisa Martin, EMT-P, MHS; Michael W. Hubble, Phd, MBA, NREMT-P; Jesse Mortenson, BA

Introduction: Field internships during paramedic student (PS) clinical rotations have been linked to improved critical thinking, and improved overall performance on cognitive exams. Anecdotally, EMS Programs encourage students to obtain contacts during emergency responses over non-emergent or transfer responses. Little is known however about the value of emergency versus non-emergent patient contacts and their effect on student cognitive performance.

Hypothesis: Students who are exposed to increased prehospital emergency patient contacts during field clinical experiences will perform better on cognitive examinations.

Methods: Electronic records and cognitive exam results from paramedic students participating in Fisdap, a national IRB approved prospectively collected online EMS student tracking system, were retrospectively reviewed. Select students who consented to research and completed the Paramedic (Blue) Summative Exam were included. The 200 item exam consisted of 6 sections: Airway, Cardiology, ECG, Medical, OB, and Trauma. Overall scores as well as a cognitive level results for: knowledge (43 questions), application (111 questions), and problem solving (46 possible) were considered. Prehospital patient contacts were reported as either Transfer, ASAP, or Emergency. Analysis was completed using normalized data and the Pearson correlation procedure. Statistical significance was established at p≤0.05.

Results: A total of 1,335 students who completed the Fisdap Blue Paramedic exam from June 2005 to December 2010 met the requirements for this study. Patient contacts during transfers were negatively correlated with student overall score (p=0.022) as well as their application score (p=0.014).

Contacts during ASAP responses were positively correlated with student knowledge scores (p=0.00). In addition, emergency patient contacts were positively
correlated to all score types; overall (p=0.00), knowledge score (p=0.00), application score (p=0.00), and problem solving scores (p=0.00).

Conclusion: Students with increased prehospital emergency patient contacts performed better on all levels of a summative examination. Student participation in transfer responses was associated with lower application level scores and lower overall scores. Further investigation is warranted to clarify the effect of emergent and non-emergent runs on EMS programs.