Continuous professional competence (CPC) for emergency medical technicians in Ireland: educational needs assessment
Keywordsemergency medical technicians
continuous professional development
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AbstractBackground: As in other countries, the Irish Regulator for Pre-Hospital practitioners, the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC), will introduce a Continuous Professional Competence (CPC) framework for all Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Paramedics and Advanced Paramedics (APs). This framework involves EMTs participating in regular and structured training to maintain professional competence and enable continuous professional developments. To inform the development of this framework, this study aimed to identify what EMTs consider the optimum educational outcomes and activity and their attitude towards CPC. Methods: All EMTs registered in Ireland (n = 925) were invited via email to complete an anonymous online survey. Survey questions were designed based on Continuous Professional Development (CPD) questionnaires used by other healthcare professions. Quantitative and qualitative analyses were performed. Results: Response rate was 43% (n = 399). 84% of participants had been registered in Ireland for less than 24 months, while 59% had been registered EMTs for more than one year. Outcomes were: evidence of CPC should be a condition for EMT registration in Ireland (95%), 78% believed that EMTs who do not maintain CPC should be denied the option to re-register. Although not required to do so at the time of survey, 69% maintained a professional portfolio and 24% had completed up to 20 hours of CPC activities in the prior 12 months. From a list of 22 proposed CPC activities, 97% stated that practical scenario-based exercises were most relevant to their role. E-learning curricula without practical components were considered irrelevant (32%), but the majority of participants (91%) welcomed access to e-learning when supplemented by related practical modules. Conclusion: EMTs are supportive of CPC as a key part of their professional development and registration. Blended learning, which involves clinical and practical skills and e-learning, is the optimum approach.