Authors: Daniel Armstrong, DPT; Jackson D. Déziel, PhD, MPA, NRP; Sarah Glass; Angela Finney; Glen Keating; Lisa Glegg; Christopher Metsgar, MBA, MS, NRP

Introduction: According to the National Emergency Medical Services Education Standards the length of an initial Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course is estimated to take approximately 150-190 hours. These hours include the four integrated phases of EMT education – didactic, laboratory, clinical, and field. The didactic phase is the most uniform while the number of hours spent in the laboratory, clinical, and field setting show more variability among programs. This project was designed to determine whether the number of hours spent in the laboratory, clinical, and field settings are related to EMT student success on a summative exam. Evidence from this study may be used by educators to determine the most effective training venues for a more valuable educational experience. 


Methods: A retrospective analysis of Fisdap educational data was conducted. A total of 2,125 EMT student records from October 2012 to January 2019 were examined. This study used student performance on the summative Fisdap EMT Readiness Exam version 2 (ERE2) as the measure of student success. Student data were analyzed with linear regression and elasticity models to determine if the number of hours students spent in the laboratory, clinical, and field settings was related to performance on the ERE2 summative exam.


Results: Linear modeling revealed that laboratory (ß = 0.027, p<0.000) and clinical (ß = 0.016, p=0.024) hours had a statistically significant impact on exam performance, while the number of field was not statistically significant to test scores (ß = -0.008, p=0.214). The elasticity function isolated laboratory hours as the most important contributor to EMT student success. For each 10% increase in lab hours, student scores on the summative exam increased by 0.15% (ß = 0.015, p<0.000).


Conclusion: The number of hours spent in lab had a statistically significant positive impact on student success and appears to be the most significant influence on EMT student success outside of the traditional didactic phase. This study highlights that assessment and skills practice in the lab may be the most beneficial for initial EMT students.