Open Access Research article

Continuous Professional Competence (CPC) for Irish paramedics and advanced paramedics: a national study

Shane Knox12*, Walter Cullen1 and Colum Dunne1

Author Affiliations

1 Graduate Entry Medical School and Centre for Interventions in Infection, Inflammation & Immunity (4i) University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland

2 Health Services Executive, National Ambulance Service College, Dublin, Ireland

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Medical Education 2014, 14:41  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-41

Published: 2 March 2014



Internationally, continuing professional competence (CPC) is an increasingly important issue for all health professionals. With the imminent introduction of a CPC framework for paramedics and advanced paramedics (APs) in Ireland, this paper aims to identify factors that will inform the implementation of this CPC framework by seeking stakeholder input into the development of a CPC model for use by the regulatory body. Our secondary objective is to determine the attitudes of registrants towards CPC and what they consider as optimal educational outcomes and activities, for the purposes of CPC.


All paramedics and APs registered in Ireland (nā€‰=ā€‰1816) were invited by email to complete an anonymous on-line survey. The study instrument was designed based on CPD questionnaires used by other healthcare professions. Quantitative and qualitative analyses were performed.


The overall response rate was 43% (nā€‰=ā€‰789), with 82% of APs and 38% of paramedics participating. Eighty-nine per cent agreed that registration was of personal importance; 74% agreed that evidence of CPC should be maintained and 39% believed that persistent failure to meet CPC requirements should mandate denial of registration. From a pre-determined list of activities, respondents indicated practical training scenarios (94%), cardiac re-certification (92%), e-learning supplemented by related practice (90%) and training with simulation manikins (88%) were most relevant, while e-learning alone (36%), project work (27%) and reading journal articles (24%) were least relevant.


Irish Paramedics and APs are supportive of CPC linked with their professional development and registration. Blended learning, involving evidence of patient contact, team-based learning and practical skills are preferred CPC activities.

Paramedics; Advanced paramedics; Continuous professional development; CPD; Continuous professional competence