Limited opportunities for paramedic student endotracheal intubation training in the operating room

Acad Emerg Med. 2006 Oct;13(10):1051-5. doi: 10.1197/j.aem.2006.06.031. Epub 2006 Aug 31.


Background: Paramedics, who often are the first to provide emergency care to critically ill patients, must be proficient in endotracheal intubation (ETI). Training in the controlled operating room (OR) setting is a common method for learning basic ETI technique.

Objectives: To determine the quantity and nature of OR ETI training currently provided to paramedic students.

Methods: The authors surveyed directors of paramedic training programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. An anonymous 12-question, structured, closed-response survey instrument was used that requested information regarding the duration and nature of OR training provided to paramedic students. The results were analyzed by using descriptive statistics.

Results: From 192 programs, 161 completed surveys were received (response rate, 85%). OR training was used at 156 programs (97%) but generally was limited (median, 17-32 hours per student). Half of the programs provided fewer than 16 OR hours per student. Students attempted a limited number of OR ETI (median, 6-10 ETI). Most respondents (61%) reported competition from other health care students for OR ETI. Other identified hindering factors included the increasing OR use of laryngeal mask airways and physicians' medicolegal concerns. Respondents from 52 (33%) programs reported a recent reduction in OR access, and 56 (36%) programs expected future OR opportunities to decrease.

Conclusions: Despite its key role in airway management education, the quantity and nature of OR ETI training that is available to paramedic students is limited in comparison to that available to other ETI providers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Medical Technicians / education*
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / methods*
  • Operating Room Technicians / education*