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.

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