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Despite United States national learning objectives referencing research fundamentals and the critical appraisal of medical literature, many paramedic programs are not meeting these objectives with substantive content.
The objective was to develop and implement a journal club educational module for paramedic training programs, which is all-inclusive and could be distributed to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) educators and EMS medical directors to use as a framework to adapt to their program.
Four two-hour long journal club sessions were designed. First, the educator provided students with four types of articles on a student-chosen topic and discussed differences in methodology and structures. Next, after a lecture about peer-review, students used search engines to verify references of a trade magazine article. Third, the educator gave a statistics lecture and critiqued the results section of several articles found by students on a topic. Finally, students found an article on a topic of personal interest and presented it to their classmates, as if telling their paramedic partner about it at work. Before and after the series, students from two cohorts (2017, 2018) completed a survey with questions about demographics and perceptions of research. Students from one cohort (2017) received a follow-up survey one year later.
For the 2016 cohort, 13 students participated and provided qualitative feedback. For the 2017 and 2018 cohorts, 33 students participated. After the series, there was an increased self-reported ability to find, evaluate, and apply medical research articles, as well as overall positive trending opinions of participating in and the importance of prehospital research. This ability was demonstrated by every student during the final journal club session. McNemar’s and Related-Samples Cochran’s Q testing of questionnaire responses suggested a statistically significant improvement in student approval of exceptions from informed consent.
The framework for this paramedic journal club series could be adapted by EMS educators and medical directors to enable paramedics to search for, critically appraise, and discuss the findings of medical literature.
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