Pandemics and other natural disasters impact paramedic students differently based on students’ personal circumstances such as family situation, age, and maturity level as well as academic circumstances such as mode of course delivery. This study examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on 38 Emergency Medical Services students who were studying in face-to-face programs, which required labs and clinicals, when they were forced to go completely online. The students responded to five questions about the impact of the pandemic on their studies as part of their end-of-course evaluations, and their responses were examined using thematic analysis. Students were affected by the interruption of classes and also by changes in their childcare and work situations. Nontraditional, older students with established jobs in emergency services agencies seemed to cope better than traditional students. Although maturity seemed to be a
factor, family relationships helped students deal with the changes brought about by the pandemic. The results find that in a pandemic, hybrid courses appear to be the best option for paramedic students who take health sciences programs that require labs and clinicals.


Steve Allred

Steve Allred is an Associate Professor in the College of Health and Public Services at Utah Valley University. In addition to teaching Emergency Medical Services (EMS) courses, he coordinates clinicals for paramedic students and instructs POST, tactical combat casualty care, and hazmat. He has over 30 years of experience as a critical care paramedic and firefighter/paramedic.

Kevin McCarthy

Kevin McCarthy is an Assistant Professor and Director of the EMS programs at Utah Valley University. He instructs paramedic courses and coordinates the didactic delivery of the cohort-based paramedic program. Prior to his current appointment, he worked in the fire and EMS fields in Virginia, Florida, and Utah.

John Fisher

John R. Fisher, Ph.D. is a Professor and Chair of the Emergency Services Department at Utah Valley University. During 2018-2019, he was a Fulbright Scholar in Kosovo. His principal areas of research are mass media coverage of disaster public policy, community emergency preparedness and resilience, and applied learning among adult learners.

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The COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impact on Students in a Paramedic Study Program