Across the board, there is no argument that EMS education reform is inevitable. The patriarchs of EMS are nearing retirement, and with each passing generation, there appears to be a degradation of skill, decision-making capabilities, and overall drive to learn. New EMTs are having difficulty performing simple procedures, i.e. placing a nasal adjunct. Paramedics are missing STEMIs. There is a major disconnect between performing procedures, administering medications, and understanding the reason why we are doing it. Intubation first pass success rates are plummeting.
Our education system has changed since the formation of paramedicine; granted, more information and skills have been added. The majority of education locally is being conducted remotely via online learning. Open book testing throughout modules do not require participants to really log away information. Simulation and skill practice is suggested, not required. How many class sessions did you sit through and not practice skills? How many of you (us!) had to cram for your skill sessions? Anyone who really sits back and reflects on our education tactics understands that they are lacking consistency and TOUGHNESS. It’s one thing to critique our system; it’s another thing altogether to propose change. So how do we do that? What are practical ways to improve our education system?
WE HAVE TO CHANGE THE WAY WE SHARE INFORMATION
- After approx. 20-30mins, adults lose the ability to focus on information. The average length of class sessions that I attended was four hours!
- Frequent breaks and review over new information is essential.
- Repetition, repetition, repetition.
- Allow for feedback from students; if something doesn’t make sense (especially on bigger issues) go over it again.
- Never assume that a student comes to class prepared.