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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Changes in EMT testing sparks concern

MIDDLE RIVER, Md. —Changes in emergency medical technician testing is sparking concern about ambulance crew shortages and public safety.

Top state emergency management officials acknowledge there are some challenges. There is a paradox as the number of new EMTs is climbing, but so is the number of candidates who fail the test or have quit in frustration.

Since last year, when the state went to third-party certification tests online, EMT candidates like Cierra O'Conner are struggling to make the grade. O'Conner, who has failed twice, said the test didn't reflect her classroom training.

"I expected to test on the stuff that I learned through the modules test and what I learned through class," O'Conner said.

"Eight-hundred thirty-nine students have gone through the EMT course. Only 35 percent of them, according to the Maryland Fire-Rescue Institute have successfully passed the final exam," said Bill Dousa, chairman of the Maryland State Firemen's Association.



Anonymous said...

The answer should be known. The answers are in the book. If students would actually study at home instead just learning in class then they would pass. It is set up for people who take initiative and take the job seriously. I've seen many EMT graduates who have no business being an EMT. This test ensures that people actually study.

Anonymous said...

Anytime there is a shortage they lower the standard. This is what they have done. Period.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:48 The standard has been raised. National Registry testing is a computer adaptive test during which the EMT candidate is subjected to questions chosen at random from a bank of questions. Answer a question wrong and the computer will stop pulling randomly and start pulling more questions from the subject matter which you answered incorrectly. The test is designed to see if the candidate knows the material.

This is vastly different from previous testing in Maryland for EMT-B. Prior to this change Maryland EMT-B candidates were able to review specific test answers and remember only those answers to pass. This is no longer the case. MFRI instructors for EMT and college EMT programs have no input or control over Person Vue which facilitates the testing, or The National Registry of EMTs. Doctors Seaman and Alcorta are bringing Maryland closer to the National Standard which is a good thing. Further changes still need to be made, such as requiring Maryland EMT-Bs to maintain their National certification (This is already a requirement in Delaware and for Paramedics in Maryland) and making Paramedic a 4 year degree program nation wide. If these changes were enacted along with the current requirements the days of card holder EMTs and Paramedics would start to disappear.

A final note: There is no shortage of EMTs on any level, that is a myth. One simply needs to do the math to confirm that. Wor-Wic Community College and Chesapeake Community College awards certificate to more than 30 paramedics a year, even more EMT-Bs are turned out from MFRI and Wor-Wic. Take the total number of fire departments on the Eastern Shore and see how many EMT-Bs and Paramedics in those departments give up their cards. I know for fact it is fewer than are certified each year. How many Paramedics have affiliations with more than one department or agency? (Hint it is nearly 100%) How many paid paramedics work for more than one department? (Another Hint: Better than half) So cutting the number of card holders that pass is not going to hurt public safety, in fact since these students do not know the material, it will improve the service in Maryland.

Anonymous said...

Why the long response? 3:48 Must have hit the nail on the head. Usually when you have this long of an explanation that means a lot of words bunched together to give an appearance of YAWN..

Anonymous said...

Let sex offenders take the tests and be EMT's, it would give them a job.