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“That is not what my book says” (EMSTesting.com)

This article was previously published in our February 2014 Newsletter by Doug Smith, CEO

In 2004 the National Registry published an update Practice Analysis that updated the 1994 Practice Analysis. This document identifies what practices and information an EMS provider should have in order to successfully practice in the field. It is this document that is the basis for the National Registry examinations for all levels.

Between 1994 and 1999 all levels of EMS education had a National Standard Curriculum update. This curriculum was objective-based and covered depth and breadth of content and practice. In 2007 a scope of practice was introduced that more clearly defined what each level was, and was not, allowed to do. These curricula had some issues, especially omissions, such as, it completely left out cardiac post-resuscitation objectives for the paramedic and left out abdominal illness for the Basic EMT.

In 2009 the EMS Educational Standard was released. Though these Standards were very specific and measureable in some areas, they also left a lot to interpretation in a number of other areas. To just give an example, let’s examine Tracheostomy care and dysfunction. An emergency medical responder is not supposed to know anything about this (but taking care of patient’s with special considerations could be an expected job practice within the National Registry). A basic EMT (aka EMT) is supposed to have simple depth and breadth of this information, an AEMT should have fundamental depth and breadth, and a Paramedic is expected to have a complex depth and breadth regarding tracheostomy care and dysfunction. However, when pressed to differentiate these terms, the response from the developmental team was that the publishers and instructors would develop and define this standard. Clearly it is this disconnect that will cause various discrepancies to material, depth, breadth, and even actual references amongst the publishers and even the authors.

Given this lack of standardization makes a common source and base for testing difficult at best. What we do at Platinum is place as much material, depth, and breadth as we can. If we feel the Educational Standards may have neglected something, for example endocrine disorders other than diabetes (an expected Registry Job Practice but left out of the AEMT standards), we made sure questions are present for that material. It is our attempt to fill in as many potential gaps as possible. We expect instructors to review questions prior to implementation of a test to determine which questions are appropriate for their students.

When we create a question, or update one, we attempt to associate these questions with a National Registry Job Practice, an EMS Educational Standard, and an objective from the National Standard Curriculum as these objectives are still valid and a whole lot more educational for remediation purposes than either of the other two.