Background. As attention to, and motivation for, emergency medical services (EMS)-related research continues to grow, particularly exception from informed consent (EFIC) research, it is important to understand the thoughts, beliefs, and experiences of EMS providers who are actively engaged in the research.
Objective. We explored the attitudes, beliefs, and experiences of EMS providers regarding their involvement in prehospital emergency research, particularly EFIC research. Methods. Using a qualitative design, 24 participants were interviewed including nationally registered paramedics and Virginia-certified emergency medical technicians employed at Richmond Ambulance Authority, the participating EMS agency. At the time of our interviews, the EMS agency was involved in an EFIC trial. Transcribed interview data were coded and analyzed for themes. Findings were presented back to the EMS agency for validation.
Results. Overall, there appeared to be support for prehospital emergency research. Participants viewed research as necessary for the advancement of the field of EMS. Improvement in patient care was identified as one of the most important benefits. A number of ethical considerations were identified: individual risk versus public good and consent. The EMS providers in our study were open to working with EMS researchers throughout the community consultation and public disclosure process.
Conclusion. The EMS providers in our study valued research and were willing to participate in studies. Support for research was balanced with concerns and challenges regarding the role of providers in the research process.
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