EMS 2.0 is an idea that is circulating around the blogosphere and twitterverse for the past year. Many intelligent people are debating and offering ideas on how to advance the profession of EMS providers.
I began asking on Twitter what people thought of Nurse Practicioners and Physician’s Assistants. I am always looking for how to advance my education. The reply I got struck a nerve with me “…isn’t it sad that paramedics don’t just stay paramedics? We feel compelled, or forced, to move onto something else”.
Why do medics have to leave the streets to improve their status in the healthcare industry?
The community paramedic idea is still being tested in the US, most recenty in Colorado. Chris Montera has started a program in his service that is promising Gary Wingrove is the spearhead behind Community Paramedicine in the US.
Another blogger who is active in the EMS 2.0 movement is Ckemtp. He proposes that paramedics be trained in the Physicians assistant model (and preferrably take a PA program).
I agree that education is an important piece to becoming more than just ambulance drivers. These ideas take time, money and a willingness on the part of the workers to go back to school. I certainly want to further my education.
The one aspect I feel is over looked is public relations. EMS has done a poor job educating the public in who we are, what we do and how our resources can be utilized. The fire service has almost put themselves out of work with their fantastic fire prevention programs. Fire safety PR campaigns have greatly reduced the number of structure fires in the US over the past century thanks to efforts by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the United States Fire Administration (USFA).
EMS does not have a national voice. We are too regionalized and segregated. We need to educate the people we serve and tell them how we can help them. I understand that we are the infant of emergency services, only 40 years since inception, but we need to come together and promote EMS. Not just public health or public safety but both. We need to educate doctors and nurses, mayors and public health directors. Numerous times I explain to staff in emergency room staff what we do and what we cannot perform. The healthcare providers we assist are unaware of our capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. An organized campaign could be in place immediatly with limited funding. Start with you! Talk to the nurses, explain what we are allowed to do, some are willing to listen. We have marketing people trying to get contracts, enable them to educate the doctor offices on what is an emergency and what is a non emergent transport. Some municipalities have both public 911 service and private service. Encourage nurses to make good decisions and not burden the 911 service with a transport that is just to satisfy legal requirements (prevent possibly litigation).
We can do this, everyone needs to be involved. The new EMT all the way up to the chief officer in the service. Be the change you want to see