Spineboards and Cocoa Puffs – The Role of Research in EMS

ss-of-role-of-researchMmmmmm.  Cocoa Puffs!  Did you know that the cacao extract in this popular breakfast cereal has some sort of effect on cancer and surgery?  Nor did we.  But the fraudulent journals thought it did… 17 of them to be exact.  Or how about the EMS staple: The rigid, long spineboard?  How did it become the protector of our fragile spine decades ago, and now is all but completely banished in the more progressive EMS systems?

EMS has progressed a lot in the last few years, stepping up from “ambulance attendants” to finally receiving recognition as medical professionals where earned.  Prehospital research played a major role in this transformation from ambulance drivers to practitioners.  But with the ease in finding information right at our fingertips (literally), it’s important for all EMTs and paramedics to understand the different types of studies out there that can influence protocol development and even the politics influencing prehospital practices.

This continuing education explores the concepts of evidence-based medicine, the different types of research studies that could apply to EMS, randomization, legitimate sources of information, and how to better spot a fraudulent article.  We won’t cover statistical analysis in this education… so take a deep breath of relief and keep reading to get started.


Step 1: Media:  The education is contained in a pdf.  You can download it from our DropBox link at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9mom8gp41ij1yiw/Spineboards%20and%20Cocoa%20Puffs%20CE.pdf?dl=0

It’s about 3 MB in file size.  Remember, you don’t need a DropBox account or login to access any of our educational materials.  Just click on the “Download” button that appears at the upper right corner, and if a pop-up box appears, look towards the bottom option, “No thanks, continue to download”.


Step 2: Take the Quiz at QuestBase.  Log into your QuestBase account at www.questbase.com/a/umcems.  If you don’t have a free account yet, please visit our “Sign Up page for information on how to obtain one.  Once you’ve logged in, look for the CE entitled: “Spineboards and Cocoa Puffs: The Role of Research in EMS”.


Step 3: Education you’ll earn upon successful completion:

  • Texas state: 1 hour for Preparatory (all certifications)


  • NREMT for NCCP requirements:
    • Paramedics: 1 hour towards Operations: Role of Research
  • EMT and EMT-Advanced:
    • 0.5 hour for Operations: Role of Research under the National component and:
    • 0.5 hour towards Local (if assigned by your EMS service or Medical Director) or instead, Individual CE