Dugg Steary, MA, CCP
Paramedics are required to complete Continuing Professional Development (CPD) each year. Despite this mandatory requirement, many paramedics report that the content and delivery methods do not ensure their engagement and CPD is often not completed as intended, designed, or with retention of key learning objectives.
Medical professionals risk increasing patient morbidity or mortality when CPD is not completed as intended. This research project explored primary and secondary research strategies to develop best practice recommendations when designing CPD with focus on online engagement of paramedics.
This research project utilized the engagement theory framework and non-intervention case study methods. The primary research included semi-structured interviews of twenty-five paramedics and educators in Canadian provinces. The secondary research included a comprehensive literature review of over 100 articles.
After data analysis and comprehensive cross-referencing, the best practice recommendations are (a) develop pedagogy training and maintain standards for educators and education leaders; (b) embrace and encourage community-based course development; (c) develop and support learner-centred delivery; (d) build and sustain a psychologically supportive and safe learning environment; (e) provide diverse subject offerings with novel and relevant choices; (f) deliver dynamic and flexible content; (g) design and support interactive and uncomplicated education resources.
Paramedics in Canada are required to complete CPD each year to maintain their medical license, professional license, or as a requirement of employment. Additionally, CPD has been shown to be a critical element in ensuring quality health care delivery and for the development of high quality professionals working within complex technical careers.
Despite the research and evidence supporting quality materials design of online education artefacts, respondents interviewed for this research project reported little to no engagement with content and repeated incompletion of education content as intended by the educator.
It is maintained that patient morbidity and mortality will only decrease, with concurrent improvement in the delivery of high quality health care, if significant education reform is undertaken with online CPD delivery for paramedics in Canada.