Non-technical skills (NTS) are a causative factor in many adverse events in health care. While this is the case, NTS has been explored in the paramedic literature in isolation, with no current list of desirable paramedic non-technical skills within the literature. This study aims to gather consensus opinions on which NTS are considered important for an operational paramedic.
A modified Delphi technique was utilised to achieve the study aim. Participants were required to rate each NTS on a ten-point Likert scale. For an NTS to reach a consensus, it was required to be rated within two Likert scale points of the mode score by 80% of participants.
There were 17 participants in the Delphi study (n=17). The study ran for a total of three rounds, and 33 of 35 NTS reached consensus. The top five NTS were communication, problem-solving, situational awareness, professionalism, and interpersonal skills. Two NTS did not reach consensus; these were empathy and cognitive offloading. These two did not reach consensus despite being rated six or higher by all participants.
The results of this Delphi study have created the first expert-based list of important NTS for a paramedic. This will have significant implications for the paramedic field as we now have a foundation of which NTS is vital for a paramedic to complete their duties. These results can begin to form the foundation of a future paramedic behavioural marker systems will improve paramedic performance and ultimately lead to improved patient safety.
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