Increasing paramedics' comfort and knowledge about children with special health care needs

Daniel W. Spaite, Katherine J. Karriker, Marsha Seng, Carol Conroy, Norma Battaglia, Mark Tibbitts, Harvey W. Meislin, Ronald M. Salik, Terence D. Valenzuela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study evaluated a continuing education program for paramedics about children with special health care needs (CSHCN). Pretraining, posttraining, and follow-up surveys containing two scales (comfort with CSHCN management skills and comfort with Pediatric Advanced Life Support [PALS] skills) were administered. Objective measures of knowledge were obtained from pre- and posttraining tests. Differences in average scores were assessed using t-tests. Response rates for paramedics completing the program ranged from 94% for the posttraining survey, 81% for the initial comfort survey, 56% for the knowledge pretest, and 56% for the follow-up survey. PALS comfort scores were significantly higher than CSHCN comfort scores both before and after training, both P < .01. Posttraining surveys showed an increase in CSHCN comfort, P < .01. The follow-up surveys showed a significant decline in CSHCN comfort, P = .05. Scores on the tests showed a similar pattern, with a significant increase in knowledge from pre- to posttraining (P = .02) and a significant decrease in knowledge from posttraining to follow-up (P < .01). Comfort was significantly higher for standard pediatric skills than for specialized management skills. Completion of the self-study program was associated with an increase in comfort and knowledge, but there was some decay over time. (C) 2000 by W.B. Saunders Company.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)747-752
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2000


  • Children with special needs
  • Education
  • Emergency medical service
  • Pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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