I was in a Facebook back and forth (don’t you just love those) with some EMS leaders not long ago and we got onto the topic of higher education in EMS.
“Of course we need to raise the standards, but how do we sell it to the masses who won’t get it?”
The conversation wandered through selling higher education to the older, more entrenched folks in EMS and how to grand father them into the new standards. In other words, we were all discussing how much “street time” would allow someone to still operate at the lower standards.
There were some suggestions as low as 5 years.
I started the conversation at 20 years and there were IMs of “Good luck finding someone who lasted that long!”
Where is the cutoff? How old do you need to be to let me ignore your excuses of achieving an Associates degree?
Yes, a 2 year program to start is what I’m pushing for. For EMT-Basics.
“Whoa, Justin. You don’t need an AS to run IFTs.” Is a response I got. No, no you don’t but if you want someone who wants to be there and has proven their ability to meet the requirements of the program, won’t that improve your product? And what about an employee who has proven proficiency in writing, speaking, reading, basic sciences? Aren’t they a better match for you? They make fewer errors and can communicate far better.
Or do you just want a warm body in the seat to meet State and Federal Reimbursement Requirements?
I don’t expect me now to go back and get my education at my current point in life. Asking someone in their 40s to go back to University and earn a BS in Science is a bit of a stretch, but not impossible. Not any BS, but a BS in the sciences, preferably pre-med.
I am currently considering a Master’s program in Homeland Security. Everytime I discuss advancements in triage and tracking of MCIs, my new favorite hobby, I am met with “What about a terrorist attack?” So, I’m looking into an education about just that topic.
If I can juggle that program, perhaps my brothers and sisters on the box can fit a part time community college schedule into their lives?
Or is there a deeper fear within us that putting our ranks through school will decrease our ranks? After all, why put in all this effort, time and money if we can just apply to the Fire Department that barely requires a GED anymore?
Because we’re better than that.
EMS is past our middle aged crisis of identity, the wide spread acceptance of Community Programs rooted in EMS structure show us that. Now how will we repay those who came before us? By whining in the corner that the burger flippers figured out how to get more pay instead of lobbying for ourselves? By complaining that 120 hours is enough to be certified to jock a box at age 18 and that higher education is an inconvenience?
Is asking for an AS degree to be certified EMT by 2020 too much to ask?
Is asking for an AS degree to be certified Paramedic by 2020 too much to ask?
Should an AS in EMS be an Emergency Paramedic and a BS in EMS be a Critical Care Paramedic?
What does a Masters in EMS get me?
What does a PhD in EMS get me?
What does it get US? Perhaps we’ve all been asking the wrong question.
So here I sit, watching my little ones, aged 10 and almost 8 run around our house that needs a roof, gutters and a ton of yard work and wondering how I can juggle all this PLUS an advanced degree program. And I think I have it figured out.
What’s your excuse?