The following abstract was developed during the 2007 Research Summit and won the award for Best Research Presentation at the 2007 NAEMSE Symposium.

What Clinical Experiences Most Impact a Paramedic Student’s Self-Reported Confidence after Graduation?

Sherman Syverson, BS, NREMT-P; Sara A. Krohn, BA, EMT-B; Dean A. Dexter, BS, EMT-P; Louise E. Briguglio, BA; David I. Page, MS, NREMT-P

Introduction: The Paramedic National Standard Curriculum identifies self-confidence as one of the 11 professional behaviors necessary to graduate. Previous research has identified low confidence among graduates. 

HypothesisMore clinical education experience increases the confidence of entry-level paramedics.

Methods: E-mail invitations to an on-line survey were sent to 2,271 former paramedic students who graduated between 2001 and 2006, used FISDAP, a national Internet-based administrative database, and consented to their data being used for research. Respondents rated feelings of confidence in their ability to care for low-frequency/high-acuity patient types. Comparisons were made between groups of confident and students without confidence using Fisher’s exact and Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon tests for predefined educational markers abstracted from FISDAP. Markers included number of ALS runs, ALS and total team leads, field and hospital hours and patient contacts, and National Registry status.

Results: Overall, 86.4% (n = 340) of graduates from 75 different programs in 32 states felt confident in caring for patients. Significant results for differences between students who are and are not confident by type of call can be found in Table 1. Regarding hospital experience; there was a significant difference in total number of patient contacts between confident and students without confidence for trauma (p=0.004) and psychiatric patients (p=0.018).

Conclusion: There is a minimal relationship between clinical experience and confidence and a strong relationship between ALS team leads and ALS run count, and confidence. Instructors should emphasize ALS experiences to increase the likelihood of students feeling confident.