Volume 5 Issue 1

A simulated wilderness exercise: the development of relational competence in paramedic students

The aim of this study was to assess the impact of a cognitively and physically challenging simulated wilderness exercise (SWE) on the development of relational competence in senior paramedic students. New paramedic graduates reportedly bring limited relational competence to their work role. The SWE, conducted in a wilderness landscape in Central Victoria, Australia was developed to address this limitation. Our study, an interpretative qualitative design, used a convenience sample of paramedic students who attended the three-day event (n=29). Qualitative data were collected through participant field diary and focus groups. Thematic analysis of study data identified four themes associated with relational competence, with each giving voice to participants’ new understandings of themselves in the work environment, namely: ‘interpersonal relating’, ‘maturity, respect and tolerance’, ‘self-awareness in the team environment’ and ‘belonging and professional identity’. It is clear that the challenge of working in teams in an unfamiliar and physically taxing environment prompted and/or extended relational competence in study participants. The practice implication of this finding is that these graduates will perform the relational aspects of their work role with greater ease, thus strengthening transition to normal work pressures in their first professional work role.

Peer-assisted teaching and learning in paramedic education: a pilot study

Background: Peer-assisted teaching and learning continues to grow internationally as a useful pedagogical strategy in health professional education. Paramedics are continually engaged in teaching students, other health professionals, patients and their families—so experience teaching peers during their university education may increase their confidence when teaching as a paramedic. Objectives: This project aims to explore: i) third-year students’ experiences of teaching and assessing junior students, and ii) first-year students’ experiences of being taught and assessed by senior students. Methods: A quasi-experimental design was used to investigate peer-assisted teaching and learning among paramedic first and third-years at Monash University using the Peer Teaching Experience Questionnaire and the Clinical Teaching Preference Questionnaire. Both self-reporting measures used a 5-point Likert scale. Results: A total of 154 students participated in the study: <i>n</i>=127 first-years (<i>n</i>=87 control group, <i>n</i>=40 intervention group), and <i>n</i>=27 third-years (<i>n</i>=8 control group and <i>n</i>=19 intervention group). The majority of students were &lt;26 years of age, <i>n</i>=130 (84%) and female <i>n</i>=100 (63%). Ninety-four percent (<i>n</i>=120) first-year students felt (strongly agree or agree) ‘teaching is an important role for paramedics’. Almost two-thirds <i>n</i>=82 (64%) felt (strongly agree or agree) ‘being taught by peers increased their collaboration with other students compared with their instructor’. Conclusions: Preliminary results support the utility of peer-assisted teaching and learning in undergraduate paramedic education, and suggest that larger scale studies take place in the future. Consideration should be given for inclusion into existing paramedic curricula nationally.

Experiences of two paramedics deployed to the Phillipines in response to Typhoon Haiyan

This article describes the experiences of two paramedics from the UK International Emergency Trauma Register (UKIETR) who deployed as part of the UK-Med response to Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Each had a key role in the deployed teams, both targeting distinct but differing health needs following the Typhoon. Tim Byrom was a member of the first team activated on 13 November 2013. He formed part of a surgical, anaesthetic and rehabilitation team that assisted the Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) at their field hospital in Tacloban. Peta Watts was in the second team, deployed two weeks after the Typhoon following invitation to continue assessments and health provision on outlying islands. Her experience involved being part of a unique and effective collaboration between the Department for International Development (DfID), UK-Med, and the British Military in the delivery of an integrated humanitarian aid package.

The profile of an emergency medical services leader: a multi-national qualitative study

This article discusses the profile of an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) leader that emerged from a larger study on how EMS leadership is learned from a multinational qualitative study of EMS providers working in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. EMS is a team-oriented profession designed to respond to emergencies and disasters. Within EMS are leaders responsible for ensuring response capabilities, which has been plagued with criticisms and shortcomings. Different leadership styles have been applied to EMS but no one style is ideal for every situation or circumstance encountered by EMS leaders. The findings discovered that EMS leaders are found throughout an EMS system and need to understand the importance of their actions, have integrity and take responsibility. Among other characteristics and qualities, EMS leaders needed to be communicators who solve problems and lead by example, are fair and able to separate personal from professional.