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Making Sense of the NREMT Practical Skill Examination Changes

In an effort to make the practical skill check offs more realistic and applicable, the NREMT is changing the way it verifies competency. Currently, each level of student (EMR, EMT, AEMT, Paramedic), must pass roughly 12 isolated skills to demonstrate their competency and proficiency in the psychomotor portion of the NRP exam. Starting in January of 2017, the NREMT will begin Phase 1 of their new scenario NRP psychomotor exam. During Phase 1, the NREMT will have paramedic students take a test consisting of 5 skills that are currently evaluated in the NRP psychomotor examination and 1 scenario.

According to the NREMT, “This Out-of-hospital scenario will reflect either a pediatric, geriatric, or adult patient. Each candidate will be provided with a trained paramedic partner and evaluated on his/her ability to manage a call, lead the team, effectively communicate, and maintain professionalism throughout the simulated patient encounter.” You can read more on this HERE.

The reasoning behind this change is further explained and backed up by a couple factors the NREMT outlines in the above mentioned article. First, the NREMT wants to assess psychomotor competency in a way that provides actual practice of a call. Second, it sounds like EMS employers have recognized that while a student may be able to perform individual skills, they are unable to connect all the pieces of the puzzle, ie running the call, directing others, and effectively managing a patient. Connecting these various aspects of EMS is crucial to becoming an effective EMS provider.

What is our take on all this? Honestly, we at EMTprep.com think this change will be both very successful and well-received. The closest thing that currently exists in the current skill evaluations are the trauma and medical scenarios. While these skills are great to help show a proctor what your thought processes are, it stops short of providing an overall picture of how prepared a student is.