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

A chance to lead: Does having fewer paramedic preceptors result in more student leadership?

David I. Page MS, NREMT-P; Baxter Larmon PhD, NREMT-P; Timothy Howey

Introduction: The current Paramedic National Standard Curriculum (PNSC) recommends that paramedic students successfully perform as a team leader on at least 50 patient encounters during training.  Field internship (FI) experiences for paramedic students occur under the supervision of paramedic preceptors.  Limiting the number of preceptors may increase accountability, trust and ultimately opportunity for the student to lead more encounters.

MethodsData from FISDAP, an internet-based skills tracking system, was used to analyze PS experiences during FI.  This sample consisted of prospectively collected data from 100 geographically diverse paramedic programs nationwide.  Data was collected from 2001 to 2005 and was verified by a preceptor and audited by an instructor, and student consent was obtained.  The investigators reviewed the data to determine if there is a correlation between percentage of encounters spent with a single preceptor, and the quantity of encounters that a student led.

Results: A total of 1870 students in FISDAP met the inclusion criteria.  Of these, students who spent 10% or less of their time with one preceptor led, on average, 47% of FI encounters (see Table).  Students who spent more than 90% with one preceptor led, on average, 91% of FI encounters.

Conclusion: Working with fewer preceptors increases the encounters a paramedic student leads.  Paramedic programs may want to consider having their students establish a relationship with one primary preceptor.