Flightmed archive for May-2003
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Flightmed archive for May-2003

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Now Is The Time

Hello everyone!  This brief posting is in response to both of the dialogues concerning paramedics (ie. Nurse vs. Paramedic and Standardization of Paramedicine).  Wow!  Many heart-fealt comments, and I share the same sentiments as many of the postings.  I am very curious - is there anyone else that has read these threads that wondered, "what would the effect be on our profession if these were focused and targetted efforts directed at law-makers and legislation instead of at each other?"  This might be an extremely naive statement, but I believe we could make an extremely powerful impact on our own chosen careers.  No - I take it back - I am not naive.  I have been doing this job for eighteen years.  I, like many of you, have seen this fight before.  The difference is I believe it can be won.  However, we as paramedics must overcome a stumbling block that has been present since I can remember (the '80s).  First of all, the 'paramedics' of the previous sentence refers to EMT-Paramedics, First Responders, EMT-Basics, EMT-Intermediates, CCEMT-Ps, and RN-EMT-Ps.  In other words, all those that are licensed or certified to treat patients (clients) in the prehospital setting.  OK, back to the stumbling block.  It is imperative that we all come together as one voice and collectively come to an agreement on what it is we want to achieve.  This is the first step.  I know - you're thinking, this guy is chiquitas thinking we can all come together on anything!  Well, take a look back through the threads.  One theme that lives in most is money and a desire to be able to provide better for our families.  All of us that work in this field deserve to make more money - period.  Not for one second do I believe our employers will step up and say, "Gee Greg, I've been watching you and reading your charts and, ya know, I think I'll give you a five doller per hour raise just because you deserve it."  If we collectively agree that we should be able to make more money, have decent health insurance, dependent care, a retirement, and a life then we can have it.  The key is collectively.  This collectively and unison and togetherness are warm and fuzzy ideals that have already been laid out for us.  Yes!  The ground work is done.  The federal government has set the basic standards adopted by the states for those that can operate in an emergency medical vehicle - whether it be a helicopter or a high-top hearse with "Radio Dispatched and Oxygen Equipped" plastered on the side of it, we are already linked.  I completely agree that there will be ten more to take my place on the helicopter or ambulance.  But if in unity, we approach the same government that set these standards and appropriately and diligently sought our goals, they would have to be met.  Why?  Because there is no other group of people that can be placed in an ambulance - the government said so!  OK, so where do we go from here?  Now is the time for a strong and unified organization whose goals are to achieve those stated above.  Well, there is already the NREMT, NAEMT, NFPA, etc. . .  Can these organizations help us?  Absolutely!  Each of these has a different agenda primarily focused on education and standardization.  They are all doing a good job of setting benchmarks which are necessary for the advancement of the profession.  I mean no disrespect to these organizations whatsoever, but while advancing the profession, the professional and his family are left behind still making the same wage, many without health insurance, little chance for real advancement, and only a few with a 401K.  I truly feel that an organization or association or whatever you (or, better yet, US) decide to call it could work closely with the others to make great strides in our chosen careers.  Nurses should not be alienated in our efforts.  We can learn from their struggles and they can be an extremely valuable asset.  Not to mention, we work with them daily.  We are the ones that chose to work in this field, and we are the only ones that can choose to make a difference.  Enough rhetoric.  Now is the time for action.

Any takers?

Gregory B. Wolf LP, CCEMTP
Flight Paramedic

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