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EMS Knowledge and Skills in Rural North Carolina: A Comparison with the National EMS Education and Practice Blueprint

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 June 2012

Lawrence H. Brown*
Affiliation:
Division of Emergency Medical Services, East Carolina University School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Greenville, North Carolina
Terry W. Copeland
Affiliation:
Dare County Emergency Medical Services, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
John E. Gough
Affiliation:
Division of Emergency Medical Services, East Carolina University School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Greenville, North Carolina
Herbert G. Garrison
Affiliation:
Eastern Carolina Injury Prevention Program, Greenville, North Carolina
Kathleen A. Dunn
Affiliation:
Division of Emergency Medical Services, East Carolina University School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Greenville, North Carolina
*
ECU School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Division of Emergency Medical Services, Building M, Physicians Quadrangle, Greenville, NC 27858USA

Abstract

Introduction:

Many state and local emergency medical services (EMS) systems may wish to modify provider levels and their scope of practice to align their systems with the recommendations of the National Emergency Medical Services Education and Practice Blueprint. To determine any changes that may be needed in a typical EMS system, the knowledge and skills of EMS providers in one rural area of North Carolina were compared with the knowledge and skills recommended in the National Emergency Medical Services Education and Practice Blueprint.

Methods:

A survey listing 175 items of patient care-oriented knowledge and skills described in the National Emergency Medical Services Education and Practice Blueprint was developed. EMS providers from five rural eastern North Carolina counties were asked to identify on the survey those items of knowledge and skills they believed they possessed. The skills and knowledge selected by the respondents at the five different North Carolina levels of certification were compared with the knowledge and skills listed for comparable provider levels delineated by the National Emergency Medical Services Education and Practice Blueprint. The proportions of the recommended skills reported to be possessed by the respondents were compared to determine which North Carolina certification levels best correlate with the Blueprint.

Results:

One hundred forty-five EMS providers completed the survey. The proportion of recommended skills and knowledge reported to be possessed by Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) ranked significantly lower than did the skills and knowledge reported to be possessed by respondents at other levels in five of the 10 Blueprint elements. The proportion of recommended skills and knowledge reported to be possessed by EMT-Defibrillator-level personnel ranked lower than did those reported to be possessed by respondents at other levels in seven of the 10 Blueprint elements. The proportion of recommended skills and knowledge reported to be possessed by EMT-Intermediates ranked lower than did those reported to be possessed by respondents at other levels in nine of the 10 Blueprint elements. The proportion of recommended skills and knowledge reported to be possessed by EMT-Advanced Intermediates ranked lower than were the skills and knowledge reported to be possessed by respondents at other levels in two of the 10 Blueprint elements. Finally, the proportion of recommended skills and knowledge reported to be possessed by EMT-Paramedics ranked lower than were those reported to be possessed by respondents at other levels in one of the 10 Blueprint elements.

Conclusion:

In North Carolina, combining the EMT and EMT-Defibrillator levels and eliminating the EMT-Intermediate level would create three levels of certification, which would be more consistent with levels recommended by the Blueprint. The results of this study should be considered in any effort to revise the levels of EMS certification in North Carolina and in planning the training curricula for bridging those levels. Other states may require similar action to align with the National Emergency Medical Services Education and Practice Blueprint.

Type
Original Research
Copyright
Copyright © World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine 1996

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References

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