Skills Gap Analysis for Ambulance Attendants
Ambulance services comprise a critical element of New Brunswick’s health system renewal program. In this regard, the provincial government sought to identify skills gaps of Ambulance Attendants by region. This was a necessary step for upgrading their competency levels to required performance standards. The key components of ambulance services targeted for improvement were established response times, advanced life support, and national educational standards.
New Brunswick’s Department of Health and Wellness contracted The Competency Group to complete a comprehensive skills gap analysis of Ambulance Attendants for each region of the province. The process entailed prior learning assessment and skill diagnostic of practitioners across the province.
The Competency Group developed and implemented a Competency Profile Tool built on National Occupational Standards for the paramedic profession as the basis for the prior learning assessment. Using the Competency Profile Tool, Ambulance Attendants in New Brunswick did a skills self-assessment which was verified by their supervisors who observed their actual performance on the job. From this data, individual competency profiles were completed for practicing Ambulance Attendants. The skills gap results were collated and analyzed by region to determine their respective skills upgrading needs and to design the appropriate training program for each area.
The findings per region revealed the gaps between current performance levels and the national standard level of competencies for Primary Care Paramedics (PCPs). The information was useful in establishing the scope of training required to upgrade the existing competency profiles to PCP level. The Competency Group’s recommendations included the course modules to address specific competencies, the methods of instruction, and transition process options for the bridging program to advance practitioners from their current certification to qualified PCPs. The results also determined which measures would be applicable to bridge the skills gaps by region.
The Competency Group’s skills gap analysis and recommendations enabled New Brunswick’s health department to:
- make informed decisions on appropriate training program development and delivery per region
- ensure that the level of clinical services delivered by Ambulance Attendants is at par with the national standards
- upgrade Ambulance Attendants’ competencies to meet the performance criteria for all key components of ambulance services
- improve the quality of pre-hospital care offered to residents of the province