Introduction Airway management is a core component in the practice of advanced life support (ALS) paramedics.
Objective To determine if an intense airway management course would improve ALS paramedic knowledge and confidence and if knowledge was retained over time.
Methods An identical written survey (measuring demographics and confidence) and multiple-choice examination (measuring knowledge) was administered at the start and end of a 10 h airway course. At 6 and 12 months after the course, paramedics took the knowledge examination. Paired confidence and written knowledge examination scores before and immediately after the course were compared. Differences between knowledge examination scores at all four time points (before, immediately after and at 6 and 12 months) were tested using analysis of variance and Tukey's test.
Results 299 ALS paramedics were enrolled in the study. 209 (69%) reported 6 or more years of ALS experience. The mean pre-course confidence score was 2.74/4 and the mean post-course confidence score was 3.39/4; a difference of 0.7 points (95% CI 0.61 to 0.71). Post-course examination scores improved by 4.9 points (95% CI 4.58 to 5.20), from 7.7 to 12.6/20. At 6 months the mean score was 10.3/20, and at 12 months 10.2/20. Post-course scores were significantly better than pre-course scores. Scores at 6 and 12 months did not differ significantly and remained significantly improved from pre-course scores.
Conclusion Significant improvement in confidence and knowledge was found after paramedics completed an intense airway management course. Knowledge at 6 and 12 months remained significantly better compared with pre-course.
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Funding YL was briefly funded (the first 2 months of the study in 2009) by the Dalhousie University Medical Research Foundation through a grant for medical students undertaking summer research projects. Otherwise, this was an unfunded study, supported by Emergency Health Services and EHS Operations Management.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by Capital District Health Authority Research Ethics Board.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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