The following abstract was developed during the 2006 Research Summit and was presented at the 2006 NAEMSE Symposium.

A comparison of call volumes, hours and patient acuities between rural and urban paramedic field internships

Gordon Kokx, BS, NREMT-P; Baxter Larmon, PhD, NREMT-P; Chad Kim, BA, NREMT-P; Todd Strom, MS, NREMT-P; Tim Howey, BS, NREMT-P

Purpose: To evaluate the quantity and quality of experiences between rural and urban paramedic field internships.

IntroductionIt is a common belief that paramedic student interns in high call volume systems experience superior internships. No research exists comparing call volumes, hours, and patient acuities between rural and urban internships.

MethodsData was researched from the Web-based Field Internship Student Data Acquisition Project. Students consented to their anonymous data being prospectively gathered and used for research. Only students who did 100% of their internship in an urban environment (populations over 100,000) compared to students who interned in rural (populations less than 10,000) were studied. ALS calls were defined as patients who received an ECG and IV; or any medication other than oxygen.

ResultsRecords from January 2001 to December 2005 were analyzed. 6513 student records were submitted. 1,825 student records were validated. Of those, 557 students were identified as students who completed their internship in either a rural or urban environment as defined. See Table 1.

ConclusionThough more calls occur in the urban environment, the acuity of calls in the rural environment is greater. Subsequently, rural internships may prove to be as valuable as urban internships in training paramedic students if the internships are of long enough duration.