In all the discussion, bickering and complaining about what EMS providers should be called (EMT, Paramedic, Ambulance Attendant, Steward etc etc) I got to thinking about the first part of my current title:

Firefighter.

 

Walk into a room in most places on the planet, say you are a firefighter and I think it safe to say everyone knows what you do.  It has something to do with a big red truck and water and red stuff.  The specifics aren’t important and where you work isn’t important.  Or is it?

If I walk into that room as my 18 year old self I am a Firefighter following a 40 hour volunteer firefighter academy.  40 measly hours, yet I carry the same title as my counterparts in San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston who have spent upwards of 18 weeks on the material.  They have more hands on training, more book time and a greater ability to do the job, but our titles are the same.  2 completely different skill sets and levels of education, same title.  No one who calls the Fire Department wonders how many IFSTA Certified, NFA FireFighter Level II’s are coming.  They care about how many firefighters are coming because what they need are people who can do the job.

At a car accident, no one has ever turned to a friend and said “Quick, call the EMT-99s this person is injured!”  No one holding a cyanotic child screams “Help! I need 2 Nationally Registered EMT-Basics trained to the new curriculum!”

They shout one of 2 things:

“Call the ambulance”

“Call the Paramedics”

The Paramedics

I say we run with it.

I am in favor of calling pre-hospital care providers Paramedics even though there is a large gap in the training, experience and capabilities of the many levels from sea to shining sea.  They don’t see the shiny patch on your shoulder is different than your EMT partner, nor do they notice you only inserted an OPA as an EMT instead of an ET.

They need help. We are it.  They call us what we are.

The  Paramedics.

Heck even most of us in the job are unsure exactly what a Paramedic should be, so what a great time to come together as one for once.

To those who will immediately back off and claim, falsely, that they earned a different title than the EMT when they completed their 2 year Paramedic program, come back when you’ve completed your Bachelor’s in EMS and tell me if you feel the same way.

 

My name is Justin Schorr and I am a Paramedic.  I have been a Paramedic in my patients’ eyes for almost 20 years, even though my little slip of paper says only 10.

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