Another Part of Being a Professional

Social media is the gift that keeps on giving for an EMS blogger.  It enables me to amplify my voice.  But today, it keeps pointing out something so obvious about why EMS still isn’t taken as a profession.

Plain and simple, part of being a professional, whether it’s nuclear engineering or being an EMT, means being responsible for your own learning. There are conferences, internet resources, journals (real journals, not trade publications), and even books that exist to expand your knowledge of all things about the delivery of prehospital medicine. Yet, there’s all too many in EMS who view social media as the equivalent of “phoning a friend” or “asking the audience” in a virtual EMS game show.  (Or maybe it’s the EMS Gong Show?)

While perusing EMS social media today, I’ve seen basic questions about how to recertify, how the National Registry exam works, and basic cardiac arrest management.  I’m far from the sharpest spoon in the drawer of EMS silverware, but I found the answers (and from reputable sources, no less) to these questions with a quick Google search. This leads me to one of several conclusions.  One, there’s a significant portion of people in EMS who are incapable of performing even basic research. Two, there are people who expect the answers spoon-fed to them.  Or three, they want someone to hold their hand and merely validate the belief they already hold.  None of these alternatives are promising for our profession’s long term viability.

As the bachelor’s degree has become the de facto standard for nursing, we continue to turn out a significant portion of so-called heroes who have no use for so-called “book learning” and believe that real learning only occurs on the “streets.”  And we wonder why the Los Angeles Fire Department is using nurse practitioners for community paramedicine?


  1. Gene Gandy says:

    Well said.

  2. Nine Echo One says:

    I see two different things here. First, the Google search has replaced ‘looking it up’, and the “phone a friend” has just about replaced the Google search.

    Second, there are limitations on what we have at our fingertips for research. Me? My agency does not subscribe to journals and the local hospital will not give us access to their substantial library. And simply put, I cannot afford $35 for an article or $250+ for a subscription. It is all I can do to attend conferences and such that my employer cannot/ will not pay for. I can get a lot of abstracts, but I know that many of my colleagues have access.

    Unfortunately, the lack of the quest for learning is, well, hard to overcome. Too many of my peers are stuck with what they were taught 1, 5, 10, or 15 years ago. And then there are the ones who will swear that if they had not put a KED on a patient they would be paralyzed, D50W re-started an asystolic heart, or ‘diesel bolus’ is a legitimate therapy.