Here on the blog I’ve had a favorite photo of Johnny and Roy in the Squad and Johnny looks like someone took a steamer in his cereal. (Chet most likely)
Under it I imagine Roy saying “Don’t worry Johnny, one day we’ll be a profession rather than a trade, just you wait.”
Well, he’s still waiting.
The folks over at Webster’s say a profession is:
A field in which one is in a paid occupation, especially requiring prolonged training and qualification.
We can argue the merits of 2000 hours, but that is certainly prolonged and we do require a state license and there is even a list of folks who passed a special test and get “registered.” It would appear that, technically, we’re there. You can relax, Johnny.
However, ask any EMT struggling to get by if they feel part of a larger Profession and they’ll likely tell you no.
Reader Garrett Kajmowicz shot an email to me asking the following question in regards to being considered a profession:
“How many professions exist where you aren’t allowed to buy your own tools?
As it stands, as a paramedic, can you go online and buy your own supply of medications? How about diagnostic equipment like a heart monitor? I think that some form of legal independence is going to have to exist as a part of the trade to profession shift, though I don’t know when, where, or how.
Interesting question there, but I’ll have to go with no. Being able to purchase our own tools won’t steer us one way or the other. Case in point, no one would argue that being a pilot is not a profession because the pilots do not own the planes.
By the way, now that I work at the airport most of my bad analogies will be aircraft related. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Being recognized as a profession takes time. A long time. Some will argue that we need an over arching Federal office to oversee licenses, skills and practices. I agree and disagree at the same time. While many similarities can be drawn looking to our close cousins the fire service (started as slaves chained to street corners) and nursing (started as prostitutes) who both have National level organizations, cabinet positions and offices in DC, we still have no idea what we are so where would our federal agency live?
Are we in the public safety business or the public health business?
Both need to be filled but with drastically different professionals in drastically different fields of specialization.
Our trouble is that we still sit on the fence and cry that the other kids won’t let us play when both teams are a player short. Do you want 911 or Community Paramedicine? Can’t do both. Those who say you can are the same who say you can’t be both a firefighter and a competent Paramedic.
In the past I’ve caught flack for suggesting I was competent in both, but have since specialized. As my position required more focus on EMS I had to pick a side. And did.
I say pick one and run with it. A community can certainly offer (and would be doing a dis-service not offering) both services, but not using the same person.
You want to run 911? I need you also swim certified, low angle rescue certified and in haz mat and active shooter training. I need to put you in harm’s way.
You want to do Community Paramedicine? I need you back in school. Advanced A&P, pharmacology, psych, social work, community planning, administration and education and none of this community college stuff, I need you in the cadaver lab with the pre meds.
Two distinct professions can emerge from our little trade house if we want it enough but back to the original comment from Garrett, no, I don’t think buying my own LifePack 30 (Are we up to the 30 yet?) will make me part of a Profession.
Only I can do that by lifting up my co-workers, my agency and my passion for patient care. I would hope we are all doing the same.
What do you think of Garret’s thought? Will being able to order a monitor, ambulance and medications, the tools of our trade, allow us to become a profession? If so, how? If not, why not?
Tell me in the comments.