Barriers perceived by volunteer EMTs in Participating in Continuous Professional Development in Ireland.

Jonathan Daly




Following the relaunch in 2016 of mandatory Continuous Professional Competency (CPC) for Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) by Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) Ireland, the aim of this research was to explore volunteer EMTs perceived attitudes, barriers and confidence in relation to participating in CPC.


A questionnaire for EMTs was distributed to the four main pre-hospital volunteer organisations and via the PHECC CPC coordinator social media account (Facebook) to gather information on attitudes towards CPC, perceived barriers to participating in CPC, and finally comfort level in completing the didactic aspects of CPC.


In total 341 eligible responses accounting for 15% of EMT registrants were analysed. 65% believed CPC was necessary for professional development, with 61% reporting it an important part of their practice. 57% believed CPC should be linked with maintaining PHECC registration, showing a decline of 38% against recent Irish research. The unique profile of respondents as volunteers highlights barriers commonly cited in the literature as having a more significant impact on CPC participation, most noteworthy over 80% cited time and access to relevant material/courses as impacting on participation. A 40/60 split between 2nd and 3rd level educational qualifications among respondents highlighted a marked difference in perceived confidence for completing didactic CPC elements among graduates with 2nd level reporting confidence at a third that of the level of 3rd level graduates. Compounding this finding, 52% of respondents reported receiving little or no training in CPC. Additionally, respondents cited restricted or no access to online journal or materials due to poor links via PHECC Registered Training Institutions or representative bodies to academic library access impacting on their ability to complete the didactic element of CPC.


It is recommended that the PHECC 2014 EMT Education and Training Standard be updated to include standardised CPC education for newly qualified EMTs. To fulfil case studies, reflective practice and literature reviews, volunteer EMTs require access to online journals and treatment information beyond the pre-hospital arena, all of which require immediate and viable solutions for successful completion of CPC by EMTs.


Continuous Professional Development;Emergency Medical Technicians; Barriers;CPC

Full Text:



PHECC. (2014) Emergency Medical Technician: Education and Training Standard 2014, Naas, Ireland.



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