Here, this is your license to learn

I recently heard a good friend of mine say that she’s “just” a basic, because she recognizes the limits of what she can do — and presumably, what she knows.

Well and good. The first step in becoming a proficient provider, in my view, is to know that you don’t know what you don’t know.   That applies to everyone from the newest first aid provider to the most experienced subspecialist physician.

But the next step is to realize that while scopes of practice may be a limit, there’s no law, statute, regulation, or administrative rule that creates a scope of knowledge.  In other words, there’s no limit to what any provider can learn.  Will they be able to do a new skill?  Probably not.  But having the knowledge doesn’t always reflect itself in a skills base.

So, my advice to each of you is simple.  Keep learning.  Challenge yourself with increasing your knowledge base.  EMTs shouldn’t be afraid to read a paramedic text.  Paramedics should be reading medical texts. (In my opinion, it’s imperative to have both Tintinalli’s and Harrison’s on your bookshelf if you’re an advanced provider.) The purpose of continuing education, which we as EMS providers keep forgetting, is to enhance our knowledge, not merely repeat the same classes to check off the same requirements.

Maybe, just maybe, when EMS providers recognize their certification card as a license to learn, not merely as a sign of achieving their career objective, we can be recognized as EMS professionals.

The Texas EMS Conference starts this weekend.  I’ll be there with my license to learn.  Will you?

On Associations

As most of y’all know, I’m a native Texan.  I’m proud of being a Texan.  (Just ask me about BBQ and our better country music.) I’m equally proud of Texas EMS.  I believe that our regulatory structure and environment have created some excellent EMS systems and some of the best EMS providers in the United States.

As many of you know (or should know), we now have a new state EMS association in Texas, the Association of Texas EMS Professionals. There have been a few nattering nabobs of negativity questioning the need for a state EMS association and/or the motives of the founders.

As a member of the association, a paramedic, and an attorney, I feel a bit qualified to explain why a state EMS association is a must, as well as what it should and shouldn’t be doing.

A state association of any sort exists for one primary reason — to advocate at the state capitol for the profession.  Primarily, that means legislative advocacy as well as advocacy with the regulatory agencies.  As we know, many of the EMS rules and regulations receive little input from EMS. It is well past time that we as EMS professionals advocate for own profession and identity rather than allowing other “stakeholders” to define the world of EMS.  As most EMS laws and regulations exist at the state level, having a voice at the state capitol is critical for EMS.

Our national EMS association, the National Association of EMTs, exists especially to advocate for EMS in Washington, DC with the federal government.  My occasional gripes aside, they’ve made great strides in giving EMS a voice both on Capitol Hill and with the myriad of federal agencies who have a regulatory stake in EMS.

I’ve heard some moans and gripes from some EMS folks who want our state association to intervene in employer/employee disputes and advocate for wage increases.  Quite simply, that’s not how this works. State associations don’t exist for this reason.  Local associations and/or unions are the best place for advocacy with a specific employer.

A stool needs three legs to stand.  EMS needs those same three legs to stand — and thrive. For me, those are memberships in associations that advocate nationally, on the state level, and the local level.

It’s time for Texas EMS to take the next step.  Join me and the other Texas EMS providers who’ve invested $49 in our future by ensuring we have a voice at the Texas Capitol.

I’m baaaack

After some technical difficulties and some writer's block, the blog is back up and I'm back.  I'm thinking of some EMS topics to inspire me.  For those of you who'd like to hear me live, in person, I'll be speaking at the Texas EMS Conference in … [Continue reading]

The continuing education sham

Every now and then, I see online EMS continuing education providers engaging in some pretty unethical behavior.  I've seen multiple sites reposting copywritten blog posts from other EMS providers.  I've also seen resuscitation card courses (ACLS, … [Continue reading]

Thoughts On The Detroit EMS Incident

If you've been around any of the EMS social media over the past two days, you've heard a story about a Detroit EMT who refused to respond to a baby in cardiac arrest. Were her acts disgusting?  Absolutely.  Are they immoral?  You bet.  Do they … [Continue reading]

System abuse? Not really.

A continuing recurring theme in EMS social media and in EMS in general is that we believe there’s a such thing as “EMS system abuse.” Usually, this manifests itself with some meme or catchy saying that 911, EMS, and/or the emergency room are reserved … [Continue reading]

Couple of book reviews

Apologies for the lack of posts lately.  Between a massive contract at the "real" job and having a ton going on in my offline EMS and personal lives, I've given the blog a bit less attention than it should have. However, I've recently added … [Continue reading]

When you’re managing risk….

After seeing some of the less stellar EMS providers out there, I can certainly understand why EMS systems and physician medical directors engage in risk management.  I would too and I encourage it.  EMS providers are great at reacting to medical … [Continue reading]

My Sermon to You

I'm not the world's most religious guy.  But I just awarded myself a new title. I've accepted ordination as a reverend in the EMS Church of the Painful Truth.  And for my fellow followers of the gospel of the truth that EMS is the practice of … [Continue reading]

In Case You Missed It….

I'm now on EMS1 as well.   Talking about compassion.  Shocking for a lawyer! … [Continue reading]