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Logo of emermedjEmergency Medical JournalVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
Emerg Med J. 2004 May; 21(3): 379–385.
PMCID: PMC1726349

Educating the ambulance technician, paramedic, and clinical supervisor: using factor analysis to inform the curriculum


Methods: Data generated by a Delphi study investigating the desirable attributes of ambulance technician, paramedic, and clinical supervisor were subject to factor analysis to explore inter-relations between the variables or desirable attributes. Variables that loaded onto any factor at a correlation level of >0.3 were included in the analysis.

Results: Three factors emerged in each of the occupational groups. In respect of the ambulance technician these factors may be described as; core professional skills, individual and collaborative approaches to health and safety, and the management of self and clinical situations. For the paramedic the themes are; core professional skills, management of self and clinical situations, and approaches to health and safety. For the clinical supervisor there is again a theme described as core professional skills, with a further two themes described as role model and lifelong learning.

Conclusions: The profile of desirable attributes emerging from this study are remarkably similar to the generic benchmark statements for health care programmes outlined by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. It seems that a case is emerging for a revision of the curriculum currently used for the education and training of ambulance staff, which is more suited to a consumer led health service and which reflects the broader professional base seen in programmes associated with other healthcare professions. This study has suggested outline content, and module structure for the education of the technician, paramedic, and clinical supervisor, based on empirical evidence.

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