Volume 3 Issue 4

Prevention, assessment and management of altitude sickness

With the growing prevalence of adventure holidays and international travel, exposure to the extremes of altitude is becoming more and more common. With this increase in adventure travel the need for expedition medics is expanding, although education in this area is understandably lacking from most medical and allied health professional core training. This article provides a brief overview of the pathophysiology, assessment and management of high-altitude disorders. It does not discuss the complex issues surrounding pre-expedition planning.

ED staff knowledge and attitudes towards the paramedic profession in Israel

Objective: To examine the level of knowledge and attitudes of emergency department (ED) personnel towards the paramedic profession in Israel, and to examine opinions of the ED staff regarding integration of paramedics into the ED work staff. Study design: Cross-sectional survey conducted among health care workers. Sample and setting: The research population was physicians and nurses in four level 1 hospitals in Israel. The sample population includes 92 physicians (approximately 61%) and 102 nurses (approximately 34%). Methods: The questionnaire, distributed from November 2011 to February 2012, was composed of five parts: demographics, questions examining interactions with paramedics, knowledge about the paramedics’ work, their assessment of paramedics’ skills, and their attitudes about expanding the paramedic's scope of practice. The questionnaire was sent to 150 personal emails of ED staff members (physicians and nurses). 68 additional questionnaires were filled in EDs. Results: About one fifth of the physicians (21.7%) reported encountering a paramedic on a daily basis, while 87.3% of the nurses reported encountering a paramedic on a daily basis. 72% of the physicians and 77.5% of the nurses knew how to distinguish between a paramedic and a basic or intermediate EMT based on differences in their uniforms. Only 31.5% of the physicians and 43.1% of the nurses knew that the majority of MICUs (Mobile Intensive Care Unit) in Israel have no physician on board. Most physicians and nurses had a high degree of knowledge of the scope of practice of paramedics and a high regard for their clinical skills. Although both physicians and nurses agreed that paramedics can expand their scope of practice to EDs, physicians supported such a measure more than nurses.

Work readiness in paramedic graduates: what are employers looking for?

Background: This study investigated the perceptions of employers on workplace readiness of paramedic graduates from Australian paramedic education programmes. Objective: The investigators sought an understanding of what skills and knowledge are required by employers from a graduate paramedic in order to inform educators and improve the work preparedness capabilities of graduates of Australia paramedic education programmes. Design: In-depth, one-on-one, semi-structured, qualitative interviews were carried out in person or by telephone. Study participants: Senior operational and educational personnel representatives from Australian employers of paramedic degree graduates. Analysis and main outcome measures: Interview data from 11 interviews was analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Employers perceived new graduates to be work ready for supervised practice, but not independent practice. Employers understood work readiness along a continuum of skill development, and that this was developed in partnership with universities. Graduate attributes were highly desired by employers, and were seen to align well with organisational values. Employers reported that university graduates often lacked significant life experience and clinical experiences relevant to the work environment; however, they understood that it was the employers role to adapt to this and to provide and support the integration of these developing experiences in the clinical setting. Conclusions: This study provides new insight into the expectations and observations of paramedic employers within Australia. The results from this study may inform further educational and professional development opportunities resulting in improvements within the field of paramedicine.