Alphabet Soup

Justin Schorr, FF/NREMT-P, WhO.C-arES

Emergency Services seem to thrive on certificates.

I’ve got some paper on my wall, I’m very proud of it.  At times I mention it behind my name when trying to gain credibility for what I am writing, saying or presenting.  People pay more attention when they know you are trained in what you are about to tell them, right?

But looking through some old files a few days ago I came across my last college paper “Shortening the Chain of Survival” in which I studied and showed the importance of, wait for it, early ALS intervention.

What bothered me right off the bat was how hard I was trying to establish myself on the title page.  I included my rank at the time, my NR status, my MICU cert and 3 more abbreviations I had earned at school.

I sure was trying hard to prove that paper legitimate, perhaps not relying enough on the paper itself.

Wandering through some recent issues of the leading EMS magazines and articles on leading EMS websites (blogs excluded) we can see folks doing the same thing.  An article is submitted and, as if to make us believe they’re an expert right off the bat, the letters start to get added to the name. RN, NR (Which I just noticed mirror one another) MD, BSN etc etc.

As a struggling profession it is as if we are clinging to any semblance of formal education to catch up to the MD, RN, BSN, PA etc, sometimes without reading through the things we propose to let them stand on their own merits, just like that paper I found.

Talking with a father and son Firefighting family at FDIC, I saw a generational divide on the perception of the letters after the name.  The father, near retirement, wanted to hear more about the letters I had earned, while the son seemed more interested in what can be learned on the job.  Book smarts vs street smarts all over again.

There aren’t many high school kids writing policy these days, however, no matter how much it seems like it, so maybe a touch of credibility is warranted.

When we present something, an idea, a new protocol, procedure or concept, perhaps one set of letters is appropriate, but let’s call it good there, shall we?

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10 thoughts on “Alphabet Soup”

  1. Well said.

    – Kelly Grayson, AAS, NREMT-P, CCEMT-P, ACLS RF, PALS RF, BLS TCF, EMS I/C, Farmedic I, NREMT QA, BEMS QIM, AMLS I, GEMS I, PEPP I, PHTLS I, NRP, HMFIC, BMOC, AEIOU and sometimes Y, recipient of Mrs. Sanders’ 3rd grade gold star award for an especially spiffy crayon drawing of a duck, author, columnist, raconteur, studmuffin

  2. Well said.

    – Kelly Grayson, AAS, NREMT-P, CCEMT-P, ACLS RF, PALS RF, BLS TCF, EMS I/C, Farmedic I, NREMT QA, BEMS QIM, AMLS I, GEMS I, PEPP I, PHTLS I, NRP, HMFIC, BMOC, AEIOU and sometimes Y, recipient of Mrs. Sanders’ 3rd grade gold star award for an especially spiffy crayon drawing of a duck, author, columnist, raconteur, studmuffin

  3. Ain’t that the truth. I know so many people who spend so much time going to classes and seminars to get more letters after their name. Big whoop. Yes, some certifications are important. However, some of them just mean you can take tests well. Can you actually do the job? I have coworkers that have half a page of letters after their name, but I wouldn’t trust them to do anything more complicated than give a breathing treatment. Who would you rather learn from: someone who’s actually done the job, or someone who can test well?

    LadyHavoc, USAF SSgt (ret), CRT, RRT, ACLS, BLS, and most importantly, wife and mom.

  4. Ain’t that the truth. I know so many people who spend so much time going to classes and seminars to get more letters after their name. Big whoop. Yes, some certifications are important. However, some of them just mean you can take tests well. Can you actually do the job? I have coworkers that have half a page of letters after their name, but I wouldn’t trust them to do anything more complicated than give a breathing treatment. Who would you rather learn from: someone who’s actually done the job, or someone who can test well?

    LadyHavoc, USAF SSgt (ret), CRT, RRT, ACLS, BLS, and most importantly, wife and mom.

  5. i would also say some time moving up in a career is easy in book but you will learn respect even more if you got your hand dirty doing the job . thinking of a radiologist i know of that started as a patient prepose up to specialize doctor and she is so respected compare to doctor having a full wall of look at me paper but no common human way to be… and by the way i’m saying doctor because that case came to me i m not putting all in the same basket

  6. i would also say some time moving up in a career is easy in book but you will learn respect even more if you got your hand dirty doing the job . thinking of a radiologist i know of that started as a patient prepose up to specialize doctor and she is so respected compare to doctor having a full wall of look at me paper but no common human way to be… and by the way i’m saying doctor because that case came to me i m not putting all in the same basket

  7. I can see where it might get ridiculous posting your credentials constantly, but do you think the education itself you have earned through classes, trainings, etc. is invalid as well? Because even if you do “get your hands dirty” to be really respected as a profession I think we need more than just EMT-B, EMT-I, EMT-P. Specifically thinking about the BSN, BS, and BA letters.

  8. I can see where it might get ridiculous posting your credentials constantly, but do you think the education itself you have earned through classes, trainings, etc. is invalid as well? Because even if you do “get your hands dirty” to be really respected as a profession I think we need more than just EMT-B, EMT-I, EMT-P. Specifically thinking about the BSN, BS, and BA letters.

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