Examining the benefits of paramedic engagement for the novice researcher

Alison Coppola
December 2018

Background:Paramedics new to research need to know how to optimise the quality of proposed research studies. A prehospital mixed-methods study design required guidance, not only from an academic perspective but also from experts within paramedicine. Paramedic engagement was defined as an exercise where paramedic researchers and paramedic clinical academics could be involved as advisory professionals.Aim:The aim of this paramedic engagement was the revision of a proposed research design on how senior clinical advisers determine futility in pulseless electrical activity in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.Method:Five research paramedics and four clinical academics were interviewed by email using semi-structured questions. A generic qualitative inquiry with inductive content analysis was applied.Results:Paramedic engagement identified five themes: rewording the proposed study title; acknowledging that paramedics withdrew resuscitation; the implications of prolonged futile resuscitation; the need for autonomous paramedic decision-making; and improving research methodology.Conclusions:Professional paramedic engagement meant a number of complexities were identified within prehospital research and and pragmatic solutions were provided to the limitations in the proposed design. Novice researchers within paramedicine would benefit from early paramedic engagement to facilitate the design of research studies, provide guidance on methodology and identify limitations to improve the overall quality of prehospital research proposals.

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