While reflecting on the events of the past week, I thought about what I really wanted for EMS Week. I really enjoyed reading the various blogs, articles, comments, status updates, and all that other stuff people posted during the week. I refrained from an EMS Week post for various, unimportant reasons.
I generally think a week dedicated to the awareness of our profession is a good idea. It gives us the opportunity to present ourselves to the communities we serve, so that they may understand exactly what we do. Most of the public has no idea what it is we do, and we get to give them a glimpse into the life of an ambulance driver EMS provider.
So, several things I wish could have been accomplished, changed, or whatever during EMS Week:
A real EMS journal
I read lots of journals, and contrary to popular belief, we, EMS, don’t have one. We have a magazine that happens to have helpful articles smashed between layers of fluff pieces and advertisements for ambulance manufacturers and knives. I certainly don’t sit on a review board for the EMS “journal,” but I question how much legitimate peer review is actually happening. I can’t imagine our “journal” as having a respectable impact factor. I would really like to see a move away from the magazine format, and towards a medical journal format.
There is nothing scientific about a dog being able to recognize an impending seizure.
Nationwide standards for entry
I will readily admit that I am a proponent of National Registry. I believe NREMT has the best interests of EMS at heart, and wants to improve our profession. The easiest way (in my opinion, of course) to begin improving our perception is national standards. I can’t imagine the rationale behind my certification not being “good enough” to work in a neighboring state. If I take the same test as a guy in Seattle, and a gal in Boston, and a dude in Omaha, then we have all met the same standard. Nurses are “registered” and we should be as well. I believe that National Registry should be a national standard, and a requirement.
Before you get all up in arms, suggesting that NREMT is just there to “collect money,” ask yourself how much money you pay to them versus your state. Registry takes 20 bucks every two years. I pay 175 to my state for the same time period.
There are also opponents of the computer-based testing model that Registry uses. “How does passing a test assure competency?” is one of the arguments I’ve heard. If you happen to think that way, then I would ask for your solution to ensuring the competency of paramedics entering our field.
A National EMS advocacy group
Yeah, NAEMT just ain’t gonna cut it. And they haven’t been for a long time, either. We need an organization that advocates for EMS. Period. Not one that supports the IAFF position that fire-based EMS is the best way to go. It is my personal opinion that the IAFF desires to overtake EMS because they see EMS as a cash cow (both for revenue and membership numbers) with no cohesive leadership. We shouldn’t be forced to capitulate to IAFF simply because we have no leadership.
This is not an indictment of those in the fire service at all. I have immense respect for firefighters. I don’t think firefighters should be forced to cross-train to provide EMS, and I don’t think EMS providers should be cross-trained to fight fire. Fire and EMS have completely different missions, and they need different methods of leadership to function at their best.
“The fire department is a budget looking for a mission. EMS is a mission looking for a budget.” as someone much smarter than me said once.
More EMS 2.0
I am tired of asking people if they’ve heard of EMS 2.0. “Dowhatnow?” is the usual response. I don’t know where the apathy comes from, and I really don’t know how to fix it. I think it comes from a perception of EMS as more of a hobby or a job, as opposed to a career. Admittedly, I could do more.
I do post articles and blog posts on the bulletin board at work. Rogue Medic is a favorite. I enjoy starting discussions about new ways of thinking with my coworkers.
Frankly, I don’t know how else to push EMS 2.0. It seems that not too many people care about the future of EMS. You, the reader, obviously do, since you are reading this instead of watching TMZ. Perhaps those who aren’t reading want the best for our profession, but just don’t know what to do next.
Let’s get them involved. Help me do it, and I’ll help you.
The slogan this year was spot-on. This is a calling. It’s not just a job. It takes a special person to dedicate themselves to this field. As always, I’m honored to be a member of such a group.
There are more things I want for EMS, but my fingers are tired now.