I finally took some trusted advice and put in for an EMS Quality Management class here at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD. Well, it’s not A class, it’s THE class.
And I am loving it.
The different levels of experience and system types in the room lend for a giant melting pot of ideas. Folks are actively sharing, borrowing and down right stealing ideas.
Sound like anything we’ve been striving for?
There are a few anchors in my class though. Not the anchors that drag EMS down, but the anchors that recently realized they were doing so and are working hard to reverse the damage they have done. There are young bucks like me, middle managers from the deep south and more than a few Chiefs from the northeast.
I’m referred to as the guy from the Wrong Coast.
Cool by me I suppose.
The lessons I’m learning here directly relate to my current (part of anyway) responsibilities at the CQI office and I am absorbing as much as I can. And not a single clinical scenario to be seen. There is something refreshing about an EMS class that, whenever patient care differences arise, we are reminded “That’s later” in this particular process.
This class is all about managing the quality of the system, looking ahead to spot trouble before it happens and realizing that if there is a problem, it is useless blaming the employee.
Yes, it is the system to blame. The system that let them skate by, let their skills falter, let them hit the streets knowing full well they were ill prepared for what was coming. All we did was wait too long to do something about it. “No, Justin, Medic Bob is an idiot.” Then what are we for letting him still touch patients?
This class is all about designing the processes to do just that, intervene as soon as an issue arises and solve the problem starting with the simplest solution, not necessarily something that has been done before. A new breed of instructor lives at this level of EMS Admin instruction, one that looks for solutions not in intubation success rates and response times, but quality of a system as a whole. A 5 minute response time and 99% first pass intubation rate is useless if your average patient in pain goes too long without relief.
But I heard something today that really made me realize that EMS 2.0 is not coming…it is here.
A student was sharing the fact that they were barely able to attend this class because their Chief was worried they would take the class, learn how to do things right and then leave. The instructor stopped the class and said, “Tell your Chief he should be more worried that you don’t seek out education…and stay.”
I’ll let that marinate.