We are on the brink of big things in the field of Emergency Medical Services.

The care is arguably more advanced and better than it has ever been. The subscription to evidence based medicine by EMS has been astounding. It is an exciting time to be in EMS. We are headed to bigger and better things, the question is, what? Where is EMS headed? What does the future hold for EMS? Are we public safety? Are we health care? What are we?

It is very apparent that there is a lot of disconnect in the answers that people have for these questions. As the saying goes, you could ask ten EMS practitioners these same questions and get ten different answers. In order to answer these questions it is clear that we need to have a common ground. EMS is now and always will be about the patients we care for. However, we must think about the future of the profession and how we as colleagues, friends, and co-workers can improve EMS for future generations.

The future of EMS

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration released their EMS Agenda for the Future, a road map for where EMS is headed. This document is great. It talks about what EMS will do in the future and what it hopes to do soon. Something the document doesn’t do is lay the framework for how to get there. Also, there is not a clear pathway for advanced practitioners and community paramedicine. The EMS Agenda for the future gives us great thoughts and goals, but how do we work toward them? How do we become better?

20/20 vision is perfect vision, right? In my opinion there is not clarity as to where EMS is headed and the future for EMS. Am I suggesting that EMS will just become nonexistent one day? No. My purpose for writing this is to make us think about the future of EMS. How are we going to achieve higher education and training standards? How are we going to improve patient care and keep individuals in EMS?

Obviously, I don’t have all the answers. These are things I just want my colleagues to think about and discuss. A big part of why we don’t have a clear vision for the future is we don’t talk about it. We are quick to complain about the current state of things, but what can we do about it? Let’s rally around each other and our patients and push each other and the profession into a new era. My challenge to each of you is to think about what you would like to see EMS become. I hope that gives you clarity for your personal future and the future of EMS. Thanks for reading.

Be safe out there and remember to always think like a clinician!