Objective: To assess the knowledge, attitudes, and skills in pre-hospital care and emergency medicine of doctors, nurses and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), who accompanied emergency patients in ambulances?
Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among the doctors, nurses, and EMT who accompanied emergency patients in ambulances to the National Hospital. All ambulances arriving from August to October 2008 (n=409) were screened. A self-administered questionnaire with 30 items was used to assess knowledge, attitudes, and skills. The knowledge was categorized into three levels, EMT-basic level, EMT-intermediate level, and EMT-paramedic level and the scores were converted into the percentages.
Results: The overall knowledge score on basic, intermediate and paramedic level were 57.5%, 42.9%, and 33.9% respectively. The knowledge on airway management (84.3%), bleeding control (82.9%), patient transport (71%) and first aids (61%) at the EMT-basic level were higher, however oxygen administration (37.1%) and basic life support (38.6%), spinal immobilization (45.7%), traction splinting (47%) and triage (48.6%) were lower. For the EMT-intermediate level, knowledge on endotracheal intubation (41.4%) and initial cardiac drug therapy (44.3%) were low. For the EMT-paramedic level, the knowledge on the advanced respiratory support (53%), ECG interpretation (37%), pharmacology (13%) and paediatric life support (20%) were lower.
Most staff showed positive attitudes towards the need of basic knowledge in pre-hospital care (97.1%, n=34), need for proper training (97.1%, n=34) and cost for pre-hospital care (77.1%, n=27), while they showed relatively negative attitudes towards the outcome of pre-hospital care (74.3%, n=26).
For the required skills for advanced life support, most of the staff showed skills in IV cannulation (71.4%, n=25) and IV drug administration (71.4%, n=25) however less skills were shown cricothyroidotomy (22.9%, n=8), pleural drainage (25.7%, n=9) and laryngoscopy and intubation (31.4%, n=11).
Conclusion: The knowledge at the EMT-basic level was average and intermediate and paramedic levels were lower than average. The attitudes were generally positive. However they lacked some specific skills.