I have always hated 2 terms in EMS but until I can get everyone to agree on just calling us “Paramedics” and assigning skills and licensing on a National level, I’m kind of stuck.

At a recent class a colleague mentioned how he hated the term “EMT-Basic” because it sounded too much like “EMT-Minimum.”  This is the absolute minimum set of skills we think you need to be able to identify a life threatening emergency, intervene as indicated and arrange for a more educated assessment and treatment.


Another term that always dig sunder my skin is when we slap the word “Advanced” on the side of our ambulances.  Advanced compared to what?  To the basic?  To the minimum?  Current Paramedics are the advanced version of the minimum required.  Well, 3 is more advanced than 2, but it will never be a 10.


So how do we achieve the pinnacle of Professionalism with these outdated inaccurate terms chained to our ankles?

How is it that someone can be content with a certificate or license that uses the term basic?

Imagine you have a plumbing problem in your home and call the plumber.  The person arrives identifies themselves as a Plumber-Basic.  Perhaps they are trained and experienced to handle the problem, but what is our confidence level in that person?  Low, right?  Now what if he arrives and says “I’m an advanced plumber”?  We feel better, sure, but what if he simply arrived and said, “I’m a plumber, what’s the trouble?”


As an EMT-Basic I hated having to rely on someone else to come help me with my patients, yet I refuse to seek out additional education above the level of Paramedic because I like where I am.  I get that not everyone wants to raise to the next level, I’m one of those folks, but I wonder if we’re setting ourselves up for most of the problems we’re experiencing.


EMT-Minimum and EMT-More than Minimum.


We need to get one name and stick with it guys, or this stratification will never end.  Paramedic – Level 1?

But Level 1 is basic, no?  Meets only the minimum.

How about EMT and Paramedic for now and we’ll work on the details later.  The National Registry introduced the non EMT Paramedic requirements, that’s a good first step.  Can we do the same for EMT-Basic? Just drop the basic part?  Can we at least do that?  I don’t like the term technician, but in looking at the standards for EMT-Basic in this country, the term is accurate.


What do you think?


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