Perceptions and experiences of medical student first responders: a mixed methods study

Orsi, Andrew, Watson, Adam, Wijegoonewardene, Nimali , Botan, Vanessa, Lloyd, Dylan, Dunbar, Nic, Asghar, Zahid and Siriwardena, A. Niroshan (2022) Perceptions and experiences of medical student first responders: a mixed methods study. BMC Medical Education, 22 (721). ISSN 1472-6920

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Perceptions and experiences of medical student first responders: a mixed methods study
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Medical Student First Responders (MSFRs) are volunteers who respond to emergency calls, managing patients before ambulance staff attend. The MSFR role provides opportunities to manage acutely unwell patients in the prehospital environment, not usually offered as part of formal undergraduate medical education. There are few previous studies describing activities or experiences of MSFRs or exploring the potential educational benefits. We aimed to investigate the activity of MSFRs and explore their experiences, particularly from an educational perspective.

We used a mixed methods design, combining quantitative analysis of ambulance dispatch data with qualitative semi-structured interviews of MSFRs. Dispatch data were from South Central and East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trusts from 1st January to 31st December 2019. Using propensity score matching, we compared incidents attended by MSFRs with those attended by other Community First Responders (CFRs) and ambulance staff. We interviewed MSFRs from five English (UK) medical schools in those regions about their experiences and perceptions and undertook thematic analysis supported by NVivo 12.

We included 1,939 patients (median age 58.0 years, 51% female) attended by MSFRs. Incidents attended were more urgent category calls (category 1 n = 299, 14.9% and category 2 n = 1,504, 77.6%), most commonly for chest pain (n = 275, 14.2%) and shortness of breath (n = 273, 14.1%). MSFRs were less likely to attend patients of white ethnicity compared to CFRs and ambulance staff, and more likely to attend incidents in areas of higher socioeconomic deprivation (IMD – index of multiple deprivation) (p < 0.05). Interviewees (n = 16) consistently described positive experiences which improved their clinical and communication skills.

MSFRs’ attendance at serious medical emergencies provide a range of reported educational experiences and benefits. Further studies are needed to explore whether MSFR work confers demonstrable improvements in educational or clinical performance.

Keywords:Medical student, First responder, Medical emergency, Education, Training
Subjects:B Subjects allied to Medicine > B780 Paramedical Nursing
A Medicine and Dentistry > A300 Clinical Medicine
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Health & Social Care
ID Code:52089
Deposited On:15 Nov 2022 15:43

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