Moving Forward: Legitimizing EMS
By: The Musing Medic (@TheMusingMedic)
Anyone who has spent time around me in the professional setting knows I am critical of EMS with respect to the education involved. Every shift I am constantly reminded of the problems with the types of paramedics we are churning out. But, until now, the most I have ever done is verbalize my thoughts to those around me. Well…that’s not totally true. I have also worked with paramedic students and tried to impart to them the necessity of taking their job seriously and doing it the right way. What other steps can we take to improve the level of professionalism and education while we advance the field?
Increasing educational requirements is a start.
Currently, most paramedic programs are certificate or diploma programs. If we want to gain professional traction, we need to move towards at least an associates degree requirement. This would legitimize the profession a little more. Requiring actual college coursework such as anatomy, physiology, and other sciences would lead to an increased understanding behind disease pathology. Additionally, it would help push forward for an increase in salary.
Next would be recruiting and attracting the right types of people.
Talent management is key in any organization. We should be actively seeking persons who are not interested in being a hero but who are interested in treating patients, from the sick to the not-so-sick. I know many a student who is working on their paramedic certification because the fire service they want to work for requires it. Look, I don’t want these types in my field. If you are not interested in the medicine and it is not your passion, walk away.
Eliminate volunteer services except in underserved areas.
How often do you find nurses or physicians volunteering their services? Sure they may volunteer for special events, health fairs, or mission trips. But volunteer EMS agencies provide 24/7 coverage for certain areas. This is bad for business. What does it say about our profession if we can get people to do it for free? Moving towards all paid services is one way to help provide credence to our field.
I realize that some of these thoughts/opinions will be poorly received, but, frankly, it needs said. We in the EMS community continue to be our own worst enemy. Change will only come from within and there are enough of us to make that change.
Comments? Ideas? Replies? Let me know beneath.