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HAS THE DEBATE ABOUT PARAMEDIC TRACHEAL INTUBATION CHOKED?
Previous research into paramedic tracheal intubation (TI) has focused predominantly on quantitative evaluation of effectiveness of this skill. Thomas et al take a different approach by employing qualitative methodology to explore practitioners’ views about this procedure. Data were collected from paramedics and physicians using two different research methods: focus groups involving 14 paramedics and individual interviews with 6 physicians. These events were audio recorded, transcribed and analysed using thematic content analysis to identify emergent themes highlighting similarities and differences within the data. Findings reveal that the paramedics believed TI should remain a core skill but, if there was concern about poor skill performance, then individual practitioners should be developed rather than completely removing the skill from the scope of paramedic practice. Similarly, the physicians wanted paramedic TI to continue although they recommended it should be limited to certain situations such as patients in cardiac arrest. Paramedics identified several factors that potentially impact on competence levels, including inadequate initial training and lack of opportunities to maintain TI skills. Despite differences in operationalisation and structure of healthcare systems between the USA and the UK, there are significant …