Sunday, November 21, 2010

Common Sense

Everywhere you look, there is an article related to a "black eye for ems".  From certification scandals,  to a medic using medication out of the drug bag, to a medic taking photos of a dead teenager  All I have to ask is…WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? 

There appears to be a trend of medics making very poor decisions that are ending up in the public eye.  There are medics posting information that is very specific in relation to a call on social media sites.  The posting of photographs from a scene.  Inappropriate comments on Facebook and Twitter.  Cheating, fraud, and the list goes on and on.  At what point did these people say "yeah, this is a good idea" before posting the thought? 

The hope for the future is that we are recognized as a profession, that we will be treated like professionals.  To do so, we must not associate ourselves with these people.  If their judgment is this poor, what must their care and treatment be like?  We need to wake up and realize that this reflects poorly upon ALL of us, not just the person that had a lack of educated judgment. 


As friends and co-workers, we have to recognize the signs early on.  If you notice inappropriate comments, Facebook postings, etc, even if they are not work related, you need to assume that it is only a matter of time before there is one related to work.   As managers, we need to develop a policy in relation to social media.  This is not going to go away.  Social media is here for the duration, and it is only getting bigger.  Develop a policy that spells out a-p-p-r-o-p-r-i-a-t-e b-e-h-a-v-i-o-r.  Apparently common sense has left the building for some people.

If we can all be smart and diligent with our comments and our actions, we can prevent our own name or our service name from being a negative media headline.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

State conference wrap-up

I am back from another Iowa EMS Association annual conference and have to say, it was a great time as always. I wore my EMS 2.0 pin with pride and had to explain the meaning to quite a few people. I also wore my CoEMS shirt and had a few people ask about it, and a few that knew what CoEMS was. I presented on Saturday morning and in my closing, guided my audience to the Chronicles website and asked for their support in presenting EMS as it really is for the world to see. I am also happy to announce that I will hold an at large position on the IEMSA board.

I spent over two hours in a class focused on technology. Let me tell you, this geek was on the edge of his seat. This logistics expert presented multiple ways that his agency is using technology to help both management and medics on the street. From being able to view traffic cams on an MDC from inside the ambulance (for passenger only), to viewing current and upcoming weather direct from the National Weather Service. I learned how to use CAD dispatch data and overlay it with GIS to see where the calls occur. Useful for agencies that do not use deployment strategies but have units in stations. When resources are depleted, they move available units to where calls are more likely to occur. I learned more about narrow-banding and 700 and 800 mhz than I ever wanted to. But…being the tech geek that I am, I enjoyed it.

Was surprised at a lecture from a physician on ems and community involvement. It was EMS 2.0, and he didn't know it. I had a nice talk with him afterward and was surprised that we know a lot of the same people in relation to community paramedics. There will be more on this talk in a later post.

What I want to get across here is that you MUST become a member of your state EMS association. This is the perfect spot to begin to have a voice. This is the opportunity to see what is new in ems, find out what others around the state are doing. It gives you the opportunity to discuss problems and solutions to problems that are affecting ems across your state. Plus, it is a chance to catch up with old friends from the past. A former co-worker, a former classmate, a former instructor.

If you wish for change, you need to have a voice. Being affiliated with your state's association allows your voice to be heard. It allows you to be a part of an organization that represents YOU. Many will say that the state association is just a "good ol boy club". Well, if that is true in your state, change it. Become a member and vote them out. Or better yet…run for a position yourself. All I ask is that you don't sit silent on the sideline and allow things to remain status quo.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Re-shaping the future of EMS

After last week's EMS Garage, I have decided to express my "ideas" on what EMS should be. I will start with today's post. It is a summary of sorts regarding a few key items WE need to work on. I will go into more detail with each one in future posts. What I would like is feedback from you the readers. Tell me what you think. What do you agree with? Please, post replies, send me a message, a smoke signal, whatever.


A set of standards for all ems agencies

Whether we are paid, volunteer, rural, urban…we need a set of standards that ALL of us must follow. Standards for safety, Protocol development, QA/CQI. Response times (because there is a point when it is irresponsible)


Improvements in the education system for ems providers

If we are to play a significant role in healthcare, our education has to be improved. There are too many medics on the street who were smart enough to make it through a class, not piss off the preceptors, and pass an exam. Is this really all we are asking of a healthcare professional? Apparently it is in EMS. EMS needs to become a "licensed profession", and not a "certified trade".


As an industry we need to move away from the "Mother may I?" concept of patient care

After forty years, we should be beyond this type of service protocol. We have come a long way in the treatment we are able to provide. Yet, services still exist that require you to contact medical control to administer pain meds for a fracture. Really?


More stringent standards for medical director involvement

There are services who have a medical director who plays an active role. They work with the development of policies and procedures, they have a part in protocol development. They respond in the field or do a ride along once a month. I believe these are services that would stand out from those who have a medical director that signs the paperwork each year.


Develop "One Voice" for ems

We need one entity to represent us and go to battle for us.  EMS is too splintered right now. You have the NAEMT, which is a fantastic organization. But…not all providers support the NAEMT through membership. You have the American Ambulance Association, yet another great organization. However, for some providers, these are not the groups they believe are doing the most to further our cause. To some, organizations such as NEMSA are the one pushing forward to make ems more of a profession.


Thanks for reading and to quote Hill Street Blues…"Be Careful Out There".