EMS as a Profession?

Here is a hot topic for you – Should EMS be a profession? Some have even dubbed it EMS 2.o (originally coined by The Happy Medic according to the comments) as if the future is in the works and testing needs to be completed.

If you look around the EMS blogosphere you will see a lot of writing about it recently.

They are using a very broad brush to paint the picture of just some of the issues with Pre-Hospital care. Some of these guys/gals work in EMS and others in Fire based EMS. Either way, it matters! It matters because it is what we do.

I admit it; I like the EMS part of my job. I don’t like it as much as the Fire side of things but I came to terms a long time ago that EMS is a large part of my job.

I am not a Medic, still something I struggle with not doing but I don’t have any reason to now. I won’t get paid any extra for it because I am ranked. It would be a personal achievement, but it isn’t worth it to my family. I don’t see them enough already. Maybe down the road…someday.

I work in the Fire based EMS side of things (City w/ population 100k). I have worked in an EMS only system (RAA) which was actually part of a review by the NHS (.pdf doc here) and a hotbed for medics doing ride alongs to see how Richmond Ambulance Authority does it.

Back to EMS 2.0.

This is my thoughts on just one part of it after reading some of the posts…

  1. At what point in advancing more in-depth treatments, on scene surgical protocols, more advanced medicine treatments, and all around increase in skills will the Paramedics be required to go to longer schooling? This longer term in schooling might mean that many decide to go the route of a PA, Nurse Practitioner, or MD.
  2. At what point will this increase in overall medical knowledge require higher paying salaries?
  3. At what point will these increased salaries be realized as waste for taking nose bleeds (BS calls) to the hospitals?

One thing that a Battalion Chief I know (and all around philosophical being) always likes to bring up for discussions sake is the need for EMS prevention. Similar to the model of fire prevention, EMS prevention would educate people on when to call, what to call for, and what is an emergency.

This EMS prevention MIGHT decrease BS calls. It won’t stop them. The realization of a free ride to the hospital for people who can’t afford to pay the actual costs usually outweighs any education on whether or not it is a real emergency.

One other thing is prioritized dispatch and then some. The Richmond Ambulance Authority’s dispatchers are all Paramedics (who are/were field paramedics and know the job). This cuts down on the amount of ambulances running lights and sirens to calls. It doesn’t cut down on BS calls though, because the RAA bills for transports and also takes care of the majority of non-emergent transports in the Richmond area. The BS calls might be culled to transport agencies if you don’t do non-emergent transports.

What do you think?