Improving EMS Part 1

I’ve said it before, and I’m probably going to say it again many times before my career with EMS is done, we are a young field in the grand scheme of things. I believe some mistakes were made at the inception of EMS and now we are having growing pains.

The first thing I’m going to talk about is education.

We do more on a full arrest than nurses with 4 year diplomas. I’m serious, depending on the service, you can do intraosseous establishment, intubation, ventilator use (something that requires a respiratory tech in most ERs), rhythm interpretation and appropriate treatment. Some systems have the ability to do rapid sequence intubation, tracheostomy, needle decompressions, and very potent narcotic use. Yet we are still not considered a profession.

I have been studying some online classes for my RN degree and have learned something. At the very inception of nurses there were groups of people that were thinking of the future. They were planning and they understood what was going to be needed for future growth as a profession.

Where EMS grew out of direct profit and has for a long time been considered a step child to the fire department, nurses were developing guidelines to establish bare minimums. Some of their guidelines included:

  1. The minimum education required for a technical nurse was a 2 year degree. Associates. This was developed for registered nurses and could be considered the foot soldiers of nursing. They can do the technical aspects of patient care and even supervise others in patient care.
  2. The minimum education required for professional nurse a 4 year degree. Baccalaureate. They can climb the ladder in different facilities and can take more managerial positions.

Now I’m not saying this would instantly benefit all involved in EMS, I’m not even saying that it wouldn’t hurt some systems that have horrible paramedic retention. I am saying that we cannot be a 2 day a week class for 9 months field anymore. We can’t be certificate paramedics. We need to provide routes for currently certified individuals to become nationally certified. We need to guide new students in learning that this field should entail a lifetime of education. We are not fire fighters, we are not police officers. We are EMS and we have the potential to do things medically to people that have far reaching and long standing consequences.

I believe that this is a first step in vastly improving our career. I will be posting other steps I believe will help EMS continue to grow and develop into the profession I believe it can be. Now before you completely disagree with me please take a moment and think, could more requirements in education really hurt?

Any thoughts? Send them to me below or visit my twitter account @ouremssite. I am eager to hear what some of you think.

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