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Ann Emerg Med. 1980 Apr;9(4):183-9.

Knowledge and skill retention of emergency care attendants, EMT-As, and EMT-Ps.


The retention of knowledge and skill proficiency was evaluated for emergency care attendants (ECAs), emergency medical technicians (EMT-As) and paramedics (EMT-Ps). The sample represented 4.1% of the total number of individuals trained and certified in these positions in Texas. The average loss of didactic knowledge did not exceed 10% over a two-year period. After two years the ECAs had lost approximately 55%, EMT-As 50%, and EMT-Ps 61% of the their basic skills proficiency. Retention of knowledge and skill appears to be directly related to frequency of use. Participants in continuing education programs experienced an 11% better retention average for skill than did nonparticipants. The employees of privately operated ambulance services retained their basic skills better than did members of other types of services. The rate of knowledge deterioration for the sample evaluated was not correlated (R = 0.08) to the original written score.

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