Thursday, 22 October 2015

Get to know Kylie Dyson and Kathryn Eastwood our PAIC PhD superstars

Earlier this month the Paramedics Australasia International Conference (PAIC) awarded not one, but two of SPHPM’s PhD candidates the best paper prize for their presentations at the Adelaide conference.

SPHPM’s Kathryn Eastwood and Kylie Dyson both took out the Australian Prehospital Emergency Health Research Forum (APEHRF) David Komesaroff Best Paper Prize.

It was a first in the history of the conference, and both Kylie and Kathryn were awarded sponsorship to attend an international conference in 2016.

Kylie Dyson has been working as a paramedic for Ambulance Victoria for the past seven years, and her research topic on paramedic competency and exposure to resuscitation skills was driven by her observations in the field.

“Working as a paramedic I found that I rarely encountered patients in cardiac arrest and this made me wonder whether my lack of exposure to resuscitation skills was affecting my competency and my patients' chances of survival,” Kylie said.

For her PhD, Kylie completed a retrospective cohort study of approximately 50,000 cases from the Victorian Ambulance Cardiac Arrest Registry.

“At PAIC in Adelaide I presented the major study of my PhD which shows that the number of cardiac arrests paramedics have been exposed to is associated with whether their next patient survives their cardiac arrest. It also revealed that the longer it has been since the paramedic last treated a cardiac arrest the less likely the patient is to survive their cardiac arrest. It shows that practice really does make perfect in resuscitation,” she said.

Similarly, Kathryn Eastwood was inspired by her 16-year career as a Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) paramedic.

At the PAIC conference she presented the epidemiological review of her PhD topic on managing the impact of increasing low-acuity demand on ambulance services, a topic she grew concerned about after working for the Ambulance Victoria Referral Service.

“With the increasing demand that I've seen in my years as a MICA paramedic I've seen an increase in strain upon my colleagues due to fatigue and decreasing job satisfaction,” Kathryn said.

“I noted that a large proportion of our workload consists of cases that do not require any paramedic or hospital intervention.  Sometimes it’s due to abuse of the system, but sometimes it’s also due to a lack of other viable options or knowledge on what is available in the community.

“In the years since 2006, I have seen demand continue to rise and I know that more cases could be undergoing this secondary triage, so I decided to do my PhD in this field to investigate the possibility of this occurring,” she said.

Kathryn is now conducting a large retrospective linkage project to investigate the impact and safety of the secondary triage referral service, to see whether this service can be extended to more cases.

“The low-acuity workload makes up most of our workload, I therefore believe that by beginning to address this issue, we can see improvements in patient outcomes, ambulance service efficiency and paramedic welfare,” she said.

Both Kylie and Kathryn were thrilled that their research presentations were so well received.

“It’s nice that my research and presentation has been recognised as rigorous and worthy from a research perspective.  However the audience response in the presentation itself, and in the concurrent twitter feed was equally gratifying as it demonstrated the topic sparked both familiarity and interest.  I have walked away from this experience feeling as though I have made an impression which has been wonderful,” Kathryn said.

“It was great just to share my research with the paramedic community in Australia but this award means that I will be funded to attended an international paramedic conference and share my work even further,” Kylie said.

Kylie hopes to implement a training program with the results of her research that will increase paramedic resuscitation skill development and maintenance and most importantly, improve patient survival.