Continuing Medical Education for Air Medical Providers: The Successes and Challenges

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2016 Feb;32(2):87-92. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000000416.


Objective: Research has shown that patients transported by nonpediatric teams have higher rates of morbidity and mortality. There is currently a paucity of pediatric standardized ongoing medical education for emergency medical service providers, thus we aimed to develop a model curriculum to increase their knowledge regarding pediatric respiratory distress and failure.

Methods: The curriculum was based on the Kolb Learning Cycle to optimize learning. Target learners were flight nurses (registered nurse) and emergency medical technicians of a private helicopter emergency transport team. The topics included were pediatric stridor, wheezing, and respiratory failure. Online modules were developed for continued spaced education. Knowledge gained from the interventions was measured by precurricular and postcurricular testing and compared with paired t tests. A linear mixed regression model was used to investigate covariates of interest.

Results: Sixty-two learners attended the workshop. Fifty-nine learners completed both precurricular and postcurricular testing. The mean increase between pretest and posttest scores was 12.1% (95% confidence interval, 9.4, 14.8; P < 0.001). Type of licensure (private emergency medical technician vs registered nurse) and number of years experience had no association with the level of knowledge gained. Learners who had greater than 1 year of pediatric transport experience scored higher on their pretests. There was no significant retention shown by those who participated in spaced education.

Conclusions: The curriculum was associated with a short term increased knowledge regarding pediatric respiratory distress and failure for emergency helicopter transport providers and could be used as an alternative model to develop standardized ongoing medical education in pediatrics. Further work is needed to achieve knowledge retention in this learner population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Ambulances*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / methods*
  • Educational Measurement / methods
  • Emergency Medical Technicians / education*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / therapy