The current leadership development opportunities provided for student paramedics by Higher Education Institutions: a literature review

Alison Rae, Simon Robinson
British paramedic journal 2020 September 1, 5 (2): 26-33

Introduction: The development of safe, competent and capable paramedics is one of the key concerns of education providers or Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). To achieve this, paramedic programmes need to focus on teaching leadership to students. The aim of this literature review was to identify the current leadership development opportunities for paramedic students during their undergraduate training across the United Kingdom, in order to identify current gaps and make suggestions on how HEIs could increase leadership opportunities for student paramedics.

Methods: During August 2018, the Scopus, Medline, CINAHL and Academic Search Premier databases were searched (the last three accessed via EBSCOhost). Grey literature was also manually reviewed. Both authors screened the title and abstract and agreed on final papers eligible for full-text review. CASP and COREQ checklists were used to assist in critically appraising the quality of the research and to help decide on the papers chosen for inclusion.

Results: The search yielded 511 results (455 after duplicates were removed). The grey literature search also yielded one additional document that incorporated a framework based on primary research integrated within the paper itself. After title and abstract review, seven papers were included for full text critical review. Two papers were then excluded, resulting in a total of five papers being included in the review.

Conclusion: Current evidence, although limited, demonstrates the benefit of educational programmes in developing educational and non-educational leadership opportunities for paramedic students. Moreover, there is value to individuals being provided or seeking extra-curricular activities, and students should be encouraged to engage in societies, the College of Paramedics, events and conferences, and to work or volunteer in healthcare or emergency service-related sectors to further enhance their leadership potential and skills.

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