• From trade to profession-the professionalisation of the paramedic workforce

      First, Sue; Tomlins, Lucy; Swinburn, Andy (2012-07)
      Abstract published with permission. How do we achieve professionalisation of the paramedic? The Trait theory identifies professions as having 1. An exclusive body of knowledge 2. Self regulation and 3. Registration. Becoming a profession leads to improved remuneration and greater respect and knowledge, but this does not lead to a change in personal conduct. Professionalism however, is connected to behaviour, attitudes, accountability and responsibility. The behavioural changes and attitudes required of a ‘professional’ are brought about through the combination of higher education and clinical leadership. Academic input integrates clinical leadership with the career structure and all staff at all levels. Clinical leaders are at the coal face, accessible during and after the event, for training and clinical supervision and are therefore transforming practice at every level. However, clinical leadership is ineffective with an uneducated workforce and an uneducated workforce is ineffective without clinical leadership, the two go hand in hand So... What is the way forward for the ambulance service? What are paramedics doing to develop and maintain the profession and professional behaviours?
    • The art and science of mentorship in action

      Jones, Paul; Comber, Jason; Conboy, Adrian (2012-08)
      Abstract published with permission. The authors have collaborated to produce this article bringing together more than 60years of combined experience of paramedic practice, education and management. All maintain their paramedic registration and have among their goals the advancement and development of knowledge, skills and professionalism to promote an effective contemporary paramedic who continues to meet the care needs of the communities they serve. Practice mentors are pivotal to the success of a modern, fit-for-purpose paramedic curriculum that requires a significant proportion of learning and assessment to take place in the practice setting. This article focuses on the support that is needed for mentors during major professional and organisational change. Change which is aligned to localised multifaceted organisational strategies and change which includes supporting mentors, enabling them to carry out their function professionally, effectively and with confidence. This article discusses experiences of a collaborative, structured approach to mentorship support which is achieved through organisational, educational and professional alliances. It also explores other approaches and suggests a way forward in terms of a national governance framework.
    • Paramedic administration of glycoprotein inhibitors for ST elevation myocardial infarction

      Dykes, Simon (2012-08-16)
      Abstract published with permission. Until recently, paramedics were routinely delivering out-of-hospital thrombolysis for ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Now that primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI) is the favoured reperfusion strategy, STEMI patients are by-passing the local emergency department and taken directly to the catheterisation laboratory via ambulance. STEMI patients within a rural setting are facing the prospect of extended transfer times for reperfusion of an already ischaemic myocardium, a potentially perilous strategy. Empirical research conducted outside the UK has identified that the pre-hospital administration of a glycoprotein inhibitor improves clinical outcome for STEMI patients. Glycoprotein naturally helps to build the fibrin mesh essential within the clotting process. Inhibition of this process by glycoprotein inhibitors IIb/IIIa (GPI IIb/IIIa) prevents aggregation at receptor sites on platelets. Original research supports the notion that GPI IIb/IIIa involvement improves patient clinical outcome for STEMI in the out-of-hospital phase. Paramedics are typically the first contact for the STEMI patient and it is tangible that paramedics have the appropriate skill and knowledge to diagnose the out-of-hospital STEMI. With this in mind, it is the purpose of this article to discuss the use of pre-hospital GPI IIb/IIIa administration and to argue that this intervention should be administered by paramedic personnel.
    • Kerbside consultations: advice from the advanced paramedic to the frontline

      Jackson, Mike; Jones, Colin (2012-09)
      Abstract published with permission. Aim To observe the issues, benefits and challenges of providing dynamic telephone clinical advice to frontline clinicians by advanced paramedics of the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Method In order to focus on the key issues the study used a mixed method approach. A group of 11 advanced paramedics took part in two focus groups which was then followed up with a questionnaire to frontline clinicians. Using focus groups in the research not only allows for the possibility of multiple realities but also for participant validation. Using a qualitative approach allowed theory to develop and emerge which was then codified into themes and the data was then used to develop a questionnaire for frontline clinicians who had received clinical advice in the past in order to provide an element of quantitative data. Findings Five themes emerged from the stud: function, responsibility, barriers, education and support. Conclusion The study finds that clarity is required in relation to responsibilities and clinicians would benefit from a structured model to communicate information over the telephone—we believe the introduction of remote advice has improved patient safety and support to staff and has created opportunity for additional learning.
    • Pre-hospital coronary heart disease: analysing performance indicators

      Fletcher, David (2013-01)
      Abstract published with permission. The prevalence of coronary heart disease is massive within the UK and is the leading cause of myocardial infarction. Between a third and two thirds of associated deaths occur in the pre hospital setting, many within the first few minutes of symptom onset. Immediate quality treatment is proven to improve patient survival however recent evidence suggests patients are not receiving all the elements of a quality care bundle. Pain management has been identified as one area which requires national improvement to meet standards directed by the National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease. In response, Ambulance services nationally have used clinical performance indicators to address quality issues in order to enhance practice and achieve target. This article reviews the importance of pain relief in the treatment of acute coronary syndrome and analyses the use of clinical performance indicators in the pursuit of best practice within the North West.
    • Community service

      Byrom, Sarah (2013-04)
    • Diabetes mellitus: balancing blood glucose

      Heardman, Jessica (2013-07)
      Abstract published with permission. This case study seeks to explore the pathophysiology of diabetes mellitus and the effects that this condition has upon the individual. The aetiology of diabetes mellitus will be discussed, in conjunction with an analysis of clinical signs and symptoms presented by the disease reflecting the underlying pathophysiological processes. Clinical treatment options will also be discussed, in relation to their influence on the management of disturbances in the underlying disease process. In line with patient confidentiality guidelines (Department of Health (DH), 1997), patient-identifiable information will be omitted.
    • Heliox in acute severe asthma in the A&E setting: a review

      Scholes, Steven (2013-09-29)
      Heliox (HeO2) is a mixture of helium and oxygen, often mixed in 80:20 or 70:30 ratios for use in medicine and clinical investigations. Heliox has been available for use in the UK since 2002 and is supplied as Heliox 21 (21% oxygen and 79% helium) by BOC Gases for medical use in asthma, croup, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other medical procedures. Heliox use in asthma exacerbations remains largely experimental owing to the limited number of randomized controlled trials. This review aims to critically analyse the efficiency of Heliox use in acute asthma exacerbations in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) setting, evaluate its effectiveness as a medium for nebulization, and assess potential benefits to clinical practice. Prehospital application will also be discussed in moderate-severe asthma exacerbations. It is envisaged that the factors relating to Heliox use in asthma are focused to provide an additional therapy to the current choice of therapies for prehospital clinicians. Abstract published with permission.
    • Is paramedic practice ready to adopt the NICE Transient Loss of Consciousness Guideline?

      Thoburn, Steve (2013-10)
      Abstract published with permission. In 2010 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published a guideline to assist clinicians, across various healthcare settings, to diagnose and subsequently manage patients experiencing a transient loss of consciousness (TLoC). The guideline emphasises that patients who are diagnosed as having had an ‘uncomplicated faint’ or ‘situational syncope’, from the initial assessment process, may not require conveyance to the nearest emergency department. JRCALC have included these recommendations within the latest published guidelines. Evidently, this may reduce inappropriate admissions and reduce unnecessary NHS expenditure. In addition it enables clinicians to provide care to patients within their home environment thus improving their experience and outcome as a service user. Furthermore, non-conveyance may reduce ambulance turn-around times enabling clinicians to become available to respond to life-threatening emergencies sooner. However, to utilise the guideline, clinicians are expected to be proficient in aspects of history taking, physical examination and 12-lead ECG interpretation. The current paucity of pre-hospital evidence base provides no support for use of the guideline by paramedics. It is questionable as to whether further education and training are required, before paramedics can utilise the guideline, to diagnose and discharge patients at scene without causing any detriment to patient outcome.
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder among ambulance personnel: a review of the literature

      Simpson, Karen (2013-11)
      Abstract published with permission. It is becoming increasingly apparent that ambulance personnel are vulnerable to developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and associated symptoms. The aim of this literature review is to identify PTSD within the scope of emergency ambulance work and think of potential ways to reduce it.
    • What makes clinicians decide to use spinal immobilisation? A review of the literature

      Cornah, Julia (2014-04)
      Abstract published with permission. Current practice of spinal immobilisation appears to be based heavily on historical practice rather than scientific precedence. Evidence shows that it is common practice to immobilise patients, yet studies demonstrating the benefit of this is limited. The decision made by the clinician to immobilise a patient is based on fear of reprisal, caution and ritualised practice rather than robust clinical assessment or a definitive criteria. A global, standardised criteria and robust immobilisation method is yet to be established. This article will examine and critically analyse existing literature surrounding patient immobilisation following a suspected or confirmed acute neck injury. In particular, literature on the use of a cervical collar and head blocks and the use of clinician decision tools will be critically analysed.
    • Decision making for refusals of treatment—a framework to consider

      Jones, Steven; Williams, Barry; Monteith, Paul (2014-04)
      Abstract published with permission. Challenges to practice are encountered on a daily basis by paramedics that often share many common recurring themes around consent or refusal to treatment. The benefits of training and open debate acknowledge the often complex decisions relating to consent and mental capacity and reduce opportunities for future legal challenge. How the law should be integrated into everyday decision making will be examined and a framework proposed to assist practice for defendable decision making. This article was inspired following joint training undertaken with paramedics and local critical incident managers from the police, which highlighted a need for a practical decision-making framework to be available for application during incidents and for use as an analytical tool to aid post-decision reflection and learning at debrief.
    • Potential use of amiodarone to treat new-onset AF in the pre-hospital setting

      Brown, Philip (2014-08)
      Abstract published with permission. Incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF) is high, it is the most prevalent arrhythmia in the UK, Europe and the USA (Naccarelli et al, 2009; Davis et al, 2012; Dagres et al, 2013) and is associated with significant morbidity, high risk of stroke and mortality (Cottrell, 2012). Clinical guidance from the National Collaborating Centre for Chronic Conditions (NCCCC) (2006) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (2006) supports clinicians working in primary and hospital-based emergency care, but not those working in pre-hospital care. Updated guidance from NICE (2014) highlights the importance of providing rapid, personalised, evidence-based care, yet does not provide any guidance for pre-hospital clinicians responding to emergency presentations of AF. Paramedics have knowledge and experience of identifying AF, possess antiarrhythmic, anticoagulant and anti-platelet medications as part of their formulary and possess the necessary skills for obtaining intravenous access. This article reviews the national guidance and available best-evidence to provide safe treatment to patients presenting with new-onset AF and considers areas that merit further research.