Professional Competence Guidelines For First Responders Developed by UL Researchers

Professional Competence Guidelines For First Responders Developed by UL Researchers

Professional Competence Guidelines have been distributed to all Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) to inform them of the new requirements for continuous professional competence introduced for the first time in Ireland.  Since November 2013 Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Paramedics (Ps) and Advanced Paramedics (APs) must be registered with the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council in order to legally practice in Ireland.  The new guidelines will enable practitioners to update and develop knowledge, skills and attitude thereby supporting professional competent practice.

The guidelines were developed by Shane Knox (Assistant Chief at the National Ambulance College & PhD candidate at University of Limerick) and Prof Colum Dunne (Graduate Entry Medical School, UL) and form part of an initiative at UL to better understand the knowledge, attitudes and awareness of Irish emergency service providers to professional development and competence.

Shane Knox explained that “through ‘town-hall’ meetings, surveys and interviews across Ireland the perspectives of practicing EMTS, paramedics and advanced paramedics regarding how they would like to be trained have been captured. Unsurprisingly, given the nature of the role, there is a preference for a mix of practical or “hands-on” and theoretical education. This is reflected in the guidelines.”

In healthcare, advances are continually being made in techniques, therapies, medications and clinical concepts that can improve the quality and safety of care for patients. In recent years the pace of this change is accelerating and so too is the public and patients’ expectation of care standards.

Director of the Centre for Interventions in Inflammation, Infection & Immunity (4i) where this work was done, UL, Professor Colum Dunne, said “To date, little research has been conducted with Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) registered practitioners in general or on EMTs and CPD/C internationally. This survey is the first to ascertain the opinions of EMTs regarding continuous professional competence in terms of what is being completed currently, and how it may be developed in Ireland in the coming years. Having engaged with almost 1,000 EMTs, it is very clear that there is genuine enthusiasm for continuous professional competence and recognition that it is an important aspect of professionalism. Our evidence places an emphasis on practical aspects , such as Cardiac First Response, maintaining a portfolio of evidence, completing operational shifts with paramedics and advanced paramedics, and a blended learning approach with e-learning. ”

The booklet can be seen here:

UL’s published surveys of Irish EMTs can be accessed here: