Medical students as EMTs: skill building, confidence and professional formation

T. Kwiatkowski
W. Rennie
A. Fornari
S. Akbar

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The first course of the medical curriculum at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, From the Person to the Professional: Challenges, Privileges and Responsibilities, provides an innovative early clinical immersion. The course content specific to the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) curriculum was developed using the New York State Emergency Medical Technician curriculum. Students gain early legitimate clinical experience and practice clinical skills as team members in the pre-hospital environment. We hypothesized this novel curriculum would increase students' confidence in their ability to perform patient care skills and enhance students' comfort with team-building skills early in their training. METHODS: Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from first-year medical students (n=97) through a survey developed to assess students' confidence in patient care and team-building skills. The survey was completed prior to medical school, during the final week of the course, and at the end of their first year. A paired-samples t-test was conducted to compare self-ratings on 12 patient care and 12 team-building skills before and after the course, and a theme analysis was conducted to examine open-ended responses. RESULTS: Following the course, student confidence in patient care skills showed a significant increase from baseline (p<0.05) for all identified skills. Student confidence in team-building skills showed a significant increase (p<0.05) in 4 of the 12 identified skills. By the end of the first year, 84% of the first-year students reported the EMT curriculum had 'some impact' to 'great impact' on their patient care skills, while 72% reported the EMT curriculum had 'some impact' to 'great impact' on their team-building skills. CONCLUSIONS: The incorporation of EMT training early in a medical school curriculum provides students with meaningful clinical experiences that increase their self-reported level of confidence in the performance of patient care skills early in their medical education.