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Comment by RESCUE 540 WPIN412 on December 22, 2008 at 7:14pm
.It's just my two cents, but here goes:

If we ever want to be taken seriously as a profession we need to raise our standards. Like peeling off a band-aid, this is best done quickly and with little whining. There is no room for substandard care in the pre-hospital environment. Hospitals do not tolerate cutting corners and slipshod, sloppy performance and neither should EMS as a profession.

We do so much and in many areas are the primary source of healthcare for many people. We owe it to our communities and the people we serve to be educated, well trained professionals. The pay for pre-hospital care providers should fall more in line with nurses; that being said standards should be higher.

While this is a tricky and touchy subject, I believe current Paramedic programs are barely adequate for todays pre-hospital professional. Many of the people who slide through these programs would make barely serviceable EMT-B's. The current cirriculum for EMS needs to be shifted up a level; EMT-B should replace first responder as the absolute basic requirements for EMS. It should be at least two semesters long and would exist as a supportive role for other medical services. These people would need an understanding of ALS equipment and procedures so that they could operate as assistants to people with more advanced training. This would be a requirement for all Fire personnel.

Current educational standards for Paramedic would be the lowest level you could have to interact with a patient. Pay would be in line with what Paramedics make now but would function more in line with the role an EMT-B plays. Many providers would be happy to stay at this level and pay grade.

The role Paramedics currently occupy would go to an advanced training pre-hospital providers. This provider would have certifications like ATLS and knowledge of advanced emergency medical procedures such as the placement of chest tubes and pericardiocentesis and would exist in a pay scale similar to that of an RN. This level of education would require approx. 2 to 3 years. Schools could specialize in bachelor's programs in Paramedicine similar to how schools offer bachelor's in nursing.

Raising standards of education improves pay and patient care. While many rural counties may initially find it difficult to staff this new level of paramedics it has been my experience that people go where the money is; new levels of pay added to an otherwise great and very satisfying job would attract more people of a higher caliber to the field. We would see a strengthening of our industry that could only be positive.

Many will say that this new system excludes fire/rescue services. I disagree; it would be strictly enforced nationwide. fire/rescue could still operate transport EMS but they would need to adhere to the new structure. No more firefighters pushed through paramedic school and then getting out barely able to start an IV.

Anyhow, that's my two cents. It's not perfect but I think it could work. Thanks for reading!

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