EMS educators reported having access to, and utilizing, a variety of educational tools in their practices. Common items were EMS equipment (100%), EMS textbooks (99%), CPR manikins (99%), videotapes (93%), PowerPoint presentations (85%), anatomy models (78%) and overhead/transparencies (70%). Respondents reported not having access to several items, such as dialup Internet connections in the classroom (66%), high-speed Internet in the classroom/lab (56%) and mock ambulance environments (42%).
A Call For Action
Today's EMS students expect to receive individualized instruction centered on increasing their ability to perform effectively in the world of EMS. EMS educators face the challenge of meeting these expectations while imparting the knowledge, skills and abilities of contemporary prehospital care to their students.
After considering all their findings, SEERP investigators presented the following recommendations:
- National EMS education standards should include instructor guides and lesson plans until such time as EMS educators have a better understanding of effective curriculum and course design.
- The EMS educator must be trained to use tools and resources to design and apply evaluation techniques that test each student's critical thinking and understanding of the knowledge, skills and abilities used in the delivery of prehospital care.
- Policy makers must promote, support and facilitate substantial changes in instructor training, capabilities and educational resources.
- Policy makers and educational institutions should promote, support and assist with developing requirements for EMS educators to obtain and maintain state instructor certifications that include training in teaching techniques.
- EMS educators should promote, support and demonstrate cultural competency in teaching practices, and should recruit students that reflect the diversity of the population.
- Policy makers should promote, support and require national accreditation of EMS education programs in order to address concerns related to instructor preparation, teacher characteristics, course resources and curriculum design.
- Vendors should promote, support and develop valid test-item banks for educators to purchase. Instruction in the basics of test development and use of test results must be included in instructor courses and CE offerings.
There is a demonstrated need to increase the theory and knowledge base of EMS educators, to prepare the classroom for change and to improve evaluation of student performance. The integration of educational technologies should become a high priority in order to serve the rural and volunteer EMS provider's needs. Prior to making any changes in the system, regulators, administrators and leaders must understand the current condition of the EMS education setting and the projected changes in the EMS education workforce. Only then can we begin to realize the vision of the EMS Education Agenda for the Future.
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