The following abstract was developed during the 2013 Research Summit and presented at the 2014 NAEMSP Annual Meeting in Tuscon, AZ.

Fewer Preceptors Leads to Faster Attainment of Team Leadership Competency During Paramedic Student Internships

Todd M. Cage, M.Ed., NREMT-P; James Dinsch, MS, NREMT-P; Mike Mayne, BS, NREMT; Steve Asche, MA; David Page MS, NREMT-P

Introduction: Previous research has shown that limiting the number of preceptors a paramedic student (PS) works with during field internships results in greater opportunity to serve as a team leader and greater overall number of successful leads.  This project sought to investigate if limiting PS preceptors led to attainment of competency sooner.

Hypothesis: Exposing paramedic students to fewer preceptors during field internship results in a more rapid attainment of team leadership competency.

Methods: During field internships PS’s and their preceptors involved in the National Registry of EMTs Paramedic Psychomotor Competency Portfolio Package Project (NRPPCPP) evaluated team leadership (TL) performance after each patient encounter.  Terminal TL competency was arbitrarily set as 90% success rate over 20 attempts (Eureka).  Verified TL performances documented in FISDAP® (Headwaters Software Inc., St. Paul MN) were reviewed.  Data was analyzed using a regression model with total number of runs and runs required to reach Eureka as covariates.

Results: Records from 439 PS’s were evaluated with 275 (63%) reaching Eureka. Average number of runs was similar (range 62.2-69.2) when 1%-59% of runs were completed with the same preceptor (PRC).  Students reached Eureka with an average of 35.2 runs when PRC was 90-100% (Table 1).   Controlling for total run count, (included as covariate in the regression model) for every 1% increase in runs with the same preceptor, the Eureka run number decreases by 0.4 (p<.001).  When PRC was 90-100%, students reached Eureka in an average of 35.2 runs.

Conclusion: Exposing PS to fewer preceptors during field internship results in a more rapid attainment of team leadership competency.