Hey there, it’s The Ambulance Chaser.
Recently, a friend of mine asked why he should renew his NAEMT membership. I had to think for a minute. Then I thought for several more minutes. Finally, I told him I maintain my NAEMT membership because I’m affiliate faculty for one of your continuing education programs and because membership provides me a significant discount on EMS Expo (Every other year in Las Vegas – yes please!). Another person mentioned the 5.11 clothing discount.
What nobody mentioned was NAEMT’s advocacy for the profession. Why? Rightly or wrongly, it’s because a lot of us in the field see NAEMT and its leadership as a self-perpetuating good old boys club advocating for its pet causes.
Some of you who know me away from my blog know that I’ve been in state government for over ten years as an attorney and that I’ve previously been legislative staff here in the Lone Star State and have even worked in political campaigns. When have I seen or met with a representative from NAEMT or any state affiliate (by the way, Texas no longer has a state organization affiliated with NAEMT)? NEVER.
What do I see from NAEMT for advocacy? Ham-handed attempts at influencing Congress. The EMS Field Bill is a useless attempt at finding another source of money for certain EMS agencies that already excel at writing grant applications. EMS on the Hill Day is, while well-meaning, just another opportunity for certain EMS leaders to wear full dress uniforms that look like a cross between the Knights of Columbus, Captain Crunch, and a Turkish admiral.
Right now, there’s a discussion on the Texas EMS email list about a Texas Board of Nursing administrative rule that’s been interpreted and applied so as to prevent EMS providers from functioning at their certification level in the emergency room. How does this happen? Quite simply. The nursing profession is organized and knows how to get things done politically. Our supposed “voice for our profession” is way too quiet in the Texas state capitol. I’m willing to bet you that the other 49 state capitols aren’t being visited by NAEMT either.
So, NAEMT, here’s the deal. I’m going to keep my membership up. I want to go to Vegas cheaper (who doesn’t?). I want my continuing education classes, although it’s a damned shame that we have to rely on so much continuing education to make up for the gaps in our initial education. And yes, I occasionally want some discounted clothing.
But since I’m a member, I’m going to continue to speak out. And I’m going to keep asking when you’re going to step up for our profession in a meaningful way. Self congratulatory photos and press releases mentioning the same old names just aren’t going to cut it forever.