This abstract was presented at the 2009 National Association of EMS Educators conference.

Paramedic Student Internship Experience, Critical Thinking, and NREMTCE Success – Phase One: Do students with more ALS and Team Lead experience perform better on Critical Thinking questions?

Charles Soucheray, BS; Louise Briguglio, BA; and Timothy Howey, BA, NREMT-P

IntroductionRepeated past research has shown a positive relationship between the number of ALS calls completed during internship and the likelihood that a paramedic student will pass the NREMT Cognitive Exam (NREMTCE). The same relationship exists between Team Leads and NREMT success. In 2008 Syverson et al discovered a positive relationship between Team Leads, ALS runs, and students’ self-reported confidence upon graduation. To better understand this trend, our research team explored the relationship between Team Leads, ALS runs, and critical thinking (CT) skills.

HypothesisThere is a positive relationship between Team Lead and/or ALS experience and a student’s ability to think critically.

MethodsOnline Summative Paramedic Exam (OSPE) results and clinical internship data were retrospectively collected from FISDAP, an online data collection system (N=665). Using Bloom’s taxonomy, each of the questions in the OSPE has been categorized as knowledge, application, or problem-solving. We defined CT questions as those in the application and problem-solving categories.

ResultsWe found a positive correlation between the number of ALS runs experienced by a student and the percentage of CT questions answered correctly (Correlation Coefficient = 0.25, p < 0.005), and a similar correlation between number of Team Leads and the percentage of CT questions answered correctly (Correlation Coefficient = 0.20, p < 0.005).

ConclusionsThere is a relationship between paramedic student internship experience and a students’ critical thinking ability. More research is needed to determine whether this relationship is affected by other variables such as student motivation and educational methods.