The following abstract was developed during the 2010 Research Summit and presented at the 2010 NAEMSE Symposium in Chicago.

Relationship between Paramedic Student Cardiac and Cardiac Arrest Patient Contacts and Subsection Scores on the FISDAP Online Summative Paramedic Exam and the Blue Paramedic Exam

Denise Wilfong, PhD, NREMT-P; David Casella, Med; Kent Griffith, BS, RN, EMT-P; Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P; Pauline VanMeurs, MS, LP; Rachael Baird, BA; Mike Bowen, NREMT-P; Eryn O’Neil, BA; Steve Asche, MA

Introduction: Student performance on the FISDAP Online Summative Paramedic Exam (OSPE) and the Blue Paramedic Exam has been positively correlated to success on the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians’ paramedic credentialing examination. Anecdotal evidence suggests that paramedic student performance on credentialing examinations is enhanced by the clinical and field experiences completed during their training program. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between the frequency of paramedic student cardiac and cardiac arrest patient contacts and the cardiac subsection examination scores on the FISDAP OSPE and Blue examinations.

Methods: Between 2001 and 2009, paramedic students participating in FISDAP, a national, online emergency medical services (EMS) student tracking system, prospectively reported their clinical and field experiences. Inclusion criteria consisted of graduating students who took the FISDAP OSPE or Blue paramedic practice examinations after completing field and clinical experiences; primary or secondary field impressions marked cardiac or cardiac arrest; total number of cardiac patients; total number of acute cardiac patients; total number of cardiac arrest patients; and acuity based on treatments, cardiac rhythms, and medications administered.

Results: There was positive correlation between all cardiac field experience categories and increased overall score in the cardiac subsection of both the OSPE (r = 0.19306; p < 0.0001) and the Blue examination (r = 0.17782; p < 0.0001). The most significant correlations were between total number of field contacts and the Blue examination cardiac subsection score (r = 0.17782; p <0.0001); between number of cardiac contacts as team leader for any cardiac patient and Blue examination cardiac subsection score (r = 0.16693; p < 0.0001); and between total number of field cardiac team leads and score on the cardiac subscale of the OSPE (r =0.16886; p < 0.0001). There was no significant correlation between number of cardiac clinical experiences and increased overall score on the cardiac subsection of both the OSPE (Pearson correlations ranged from r= 0.04034 to –0.05886) and the Blue examination (Pearson correlations ranged from r = 0.02586 to 0.06149).

Conclusion: Students with higher numbers of cardiac and cardiac arrest field contacts scored higher on the cardiac subsections of the FISDAP OSPE and Blue examination.