A new approach to teaching prehospital trauma care to paramedic students. Academic Article uri icon


  • Study objective: A modification of the standard Department of Transportation student paramedic curriculum encouraging individualized patient assessment decreases inappropriate on-scene procedures (OSPs) and scene time, measured on simulated patients.Scenario-based testing from 1991 through 1993 was videotaped for all students. A new trauma curriculum was introduced in 1992, individualizing patient assessment and prioritization of OSPs. Recorded OSPs included spinal immobilization, application of military antishock trousers, endotracheal intubation, cricothyrotomy, intravenous catheter insertion, and needle thoracostomy. Twenty videotaped random student performances of the 1991 class was compared with a similar sample of 20 from the 1993 class; scene times and the OSP numbers were measured. Two board-certified independent emergency physicians unfamiliar with the students or the new curriculum reviewed all 40 tests on a master videotape. Patient assessment appropriateness, scene time, OSPs, scenario difficulty, and number of inappropriate OSPs were evaluated using a linear analog scale. Data are presented as means with confidence intervals (CIs), analyzed by Student's t test and the Mann-Whitney 2-sample test.Scene time from 1991 to 1993 decreased overall with a mean of 4.3 minutes (95% CI 2.8 to 5.8 minutes), as did the number of OSPs: 3.1 versus 1.7 (mean difference, 1.45 OSPs per scenario; 95% CI.91 to 1.99). Physician reviewers noted improvements in the appropriateness of patient assessment, scene time, and OSPs from 1991 to 1993. There was no significant difference in scenario difficulty for 1991 compared with 1993. Inappropriate OSPs done on scene declined. Physician 1 indicated a mean of inappropriate procedures of 1.6 in 1991 versus.5 in 1993. Physician 2 indicated a mean of 1.4 in 1991 versus.3 in 1993.This new paramedic curriculum decreased on-scene time and inappropriate use of procedures in stabilizing the condition of patients with simulated critical trauma.

publication date

  • January 1, 1999