Volume 5 Issue 2

Prioritising the development of paramedic students’ interpersonal skills

Objective This paper analyses residential-aged care clinical placements undertaken by undergraduate paramedic students participating in the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre's ‘Teaching Aged Care Facilities Program’. Benefits of the placement in facilitating the development of critical interpersonal skills are identified and discussed. Setting A cohort of final year undergraduate students (<i>n</i>=31) completed a five-day clinical placement in four participating residential-aged care facilities in Tasmania, Australia. Method The research involved the collection of qualitative data during student feedback meetings at the end of students’ placements. The data were analysed using a thematic analysis approach. Additionally, quantitative data from pre- and post-placement surveys were collected and analysed using IBM SPSS Statistics 20.0.0. Results The research found that students benefited from the placement in terms of developing their interpersonal skills. Students demonstrated an increased understanding of dementia and improved communication strategies for working with people with dementia. Conclusions Paramedic clinical placements in residential-aged care facilities address two key issues identified by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, these being a lack of interpersonal skills among graduate paramedics and a shortage of alternative learning sites.

Length of professional education of paramedics and nurses at community colleges in the Northeast United States

Aim To determine if the professional bodies of knowledge of paramedics and nurses are roughly equivalent for each discipline at the point of primary licensure. Methods A list was compiled of all paramedic education programmes in the Northeast US states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Each programme was then surveyed to identify those institutions that offered college credit for their paramedic education programme and also had an associate's degree nursing programme. Northeast paramedic education programmes that were not accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs were then identified that offered college credit for their paramedic education programme and also had an associate's degree nursing programme. Results In total, 23 colleges in the Northeast United States had both paramedic and registered nursing education programmes offered for college credit. Paramedic education required a mean of 41 credits compared to a mean of 37 credits for nursing education. Conclusions While paramedics are less likely to have a college degree than registered nurses, their specific professional education programmes are equivalent. Further research is required to establish if the paramedic body of knowledge is both deep and complex enough that it is unsafe for non-paramedic registered nurses to be functioning in the pre-hospital environment.