EMS has always stood at the forefront of medicine, delivering care to the sick and injured in various roles. But where are we going?
When you look at the trajectory of EMS it is similar to nursing. When nursing first started as a profession, for example, the male-dominated physician world treated female nurses as servants. Then, a change occurred. Nurses became educated, developed a language of their own, diagnosed patients, did research, improved outcomes and generally broke free of the care assistant model. I believe EMS has begun down the same path.
As EMS professionals, we started out as patient transport. Indeed, the Department of Transportation funded and adopted our curriculum. We have roots in DOT, PD, FD, and the military but we are truly physician extenders that should comprise part of the Health Department.
EMS is now developing a language, doing research, schools are being accredited by national organizations, even continuing education has CAPCE, but we need to do more. Community outreach will help us accomplish what many have started and can generate a positive picture with the general public of EMS professionals.
We’ve been terrible at self-promotion for years. Let’s serve as the example to show the public what EMS is and what we are capable of doing.
Our involvement is key
One fine example is when the Georgia Trauma Commission collaborated with the Georgia Society of the American College of Surgeons and the Georgia Committee on Trauma to create the “Stop the Bleed” campaign.
The campaign is designed to train school teachers, nurses and staff across the state on how to render immediate and potentially life-saving medical aid to injured students and co-workers while waiting for professional responders to arrive, according to an article in the Brunswick News.
Doing this type of training allows us to have face time with the public so that they can learn what we can and cannot do.
One of the other important outreach programs to help us in this endeavor should be the Community Paramedic Program. We are seeing how this education is moving EMS into new and exciting roles in the community.
“First responders frequently respond to calls for social services. So, the emergency responders may know of people who need some sort of services or resources,” Todd Babbitt, a former fire chief, said in a Norwich Bulletin article. “This team could help connect those people with the services they need. It’s about getting everybody to work together and communicate.”
What we can do? First, we need to start to get EMS in front of the general public. We can do more to teach and open our historically closed doors to the folks who make it easier to do our jobs. As our roles change in modern-day healthcare, we must continue to educate and learn.
Embrace the change or other healthcare professionals will leave us in the dust.