First evaluation of CPD advanced paramedic teaching methods in Ireland

Aim:Continuing professional development (CPD) will soon be mandatory for advanced paramedics (APs) registered with Ireland’s pre-hospital regulatory body. Effective and efficient CPD methodologies are needed. We determined what type of training methods might be used to reduce associated costs while maintaining effectiveness and benefit.Methods:In 2010, an ‘up-skill’ programme for APs was introduced in Ireland comprising: a) self-directed learning using a purpose-designed manual; b) workbooks based on the manual and clinical practice guidelines; c) small group practical sessions with discussion-based skill stations; and c) practical scenario-based assessment. Participants were invited to complete a web-based survey assessing a) short-term effectiveness, b) medium-term effectiveness, and c) user friendliness of the educational modalities. The preferred learning styles and respondents’ perceptions of outcome were determined.Results:Overall 49 % of participants responded. Of those eligible, 73 % believed that practical learning encouraged knowledge retention and skills in the immediate and medium-term, 82 % believed practical learning influenced patient care immediately, while 75 % stated that it influenced patient care six months later. All respondents agreed that practical learning was important, with 90 % stating that it was enjoyable. Overall, 80 % found the provided manual accessible, while >40 % believed that the manual alone did not provide all necessary information, 77 % had referenced it since completing the programme.Conclusion:APs enjoyed, and benefited from, the educational programme and the knowledge gained benefited patients in the short and medium-term. This study suggests that educators and training sponsors should consider the benefits of small group-based practical learning for APs.

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