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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Emergency Medical Services Professionals’ Attitudes About Community Paramedic Programs

  • Author(s): Steeps, Robert J.
  • Wilfong, Denise A.
  • Hubble, Michael W.
  • Bercher, Daniel L.
  • et al.

Introduction: The number of community paramedic (CP) programs has expanded to mitigatethe impact of increased patient usage on emergency services. However, it has not beendetermined to what extent emergency medical services (EMS) professionals would be willing toparticipate in this model of care. With this project, we sought to evaluate the perceptions of EMSprofessionals toward the concept of a CP program.

Methods: We used a cross-sectional study method to evaluate the perceptions of participatingEMS professionals with regard to their understanding of and willingness to participate in a CPprogram. Approximately 350 licensed EMS professionals currently working for an EMS servicethat provides coverage to four states (Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma) were invitedto participate in an electronic survey regarding their perceptions toward a CP program. Weanalyzed interval data using the Mann-Whitney U test, Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis ofvariance, and Pearson correlation as appropriate. Multivariate logistic regression was performedto examine the impact of participant characteristics on their willingness to perform CP duties.Statistical significance was established at p ≤ 0.05.

Results: Of the 350 EMS professionals receiving an invitation, 283 (81%) participated. Of thoseparticipants, 165 (70%) indicated that they understood what a CP program entails. One hundredthirty-five (58%) stated they were likely to attend additional e ducation in order to becomea CP, 152 (66%) were willing to perform CP duties, and 175 (75%) felt that their respective communities would be in favor of a local CP program. Using logistic regression with regard towillingness to perform CP duties, we found that females were more willing than males (OR =4.65; p = 0.03) and that those participants without any perceived time on shift to commit to CPduties were less willing than those who believed their work shifts could accommodate additionalduties (OR = 0.20; p < 0.001).

Conclusion: The majority of EMS professionals in this study believe they understand CPprograms and perceive that their communities want them to provide CP-level care. While fewerin number, most are willing to attend additional CP education and/or are willing to perform CP duties.

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