Shipping Up to Boston

This past weekend I had an opportunity to speak at my first national conference.  A few months ago I submitted and was accepted to present at that National Collegiate Conference which brings together campus based EMS systems and EMTs from around the country.  This year’s gathering was in Boston, so I headed back up to New England for the weekend.  First of all, let me start out by saying that as of late I have become a fan of the train, but i was persuaded by a friend to fly up.  What a great decision.  Fifty five minutes in the air, and I was on the ground at Logan.  It was well worth it.

But i digress. . .

I was amazed at the number of people who attended this conference.  From what I was told there were over 1,100 collegiate EMTs who had come from as far away as Arizona.  They were probably the group that I felt the worst for.  Sometimes I wonder if they actually sell clothes in Arizona that are capable of handling thirteen degree weather.

The conference itself had about 110 presentations over the course of three days, an aggressive undertaking for even the most polished conference, but it was handled well.  Each block had five or six presentations dealing with everything from MCI response to toxicology, and over to career related ones like mine, and ones on administrating and running collegiate based EMS services and developing best practices for them.  To me, it was also a training session for these kids (and I use that term loosely) for how they should perform and what they should be ready for should they head off to EMS Today or EMS Expo in the future.

The collegiate audience presents an interesting one.  Personally, I feel that there are two kinds of conferences that we attend.  The first is to just put credits in our bank so that we can re-up our cards.  People sit back with folded arms, sighing and looking at their watches waiting for the next break, and asking questions like “Are we going to go all the way to 5pm today?”  Those are not as much fun to teach at as conferences like this one are.  These kids were engaged.  They were eager to learn.  They were they because they wanted to be there not because they had to be.  I ran into Dan Limmer from Limmer Creative, and he seemed to nail it.  These students are at a completely different level than most attendees at other conferences not because of their experience or ability, but because they are in a different learning mindset.

My presentation was called “Looking Down the Road: What you need to know to make a career in EMS.”  My class was attended by about twenty five students, and i was impressed with many of them.  I got questions throughout the presentation, and judging by how most of them reacted, they were engaged and interested in what I had to say.  The message for my class was a simple one: never stop learning, know what is going on around you and available to you, and do your best to be a good EMT both clinically and emotionally.  I feel like I got a lot across to everyone, and walked out of the presentation feeling good about how it went.

Ultimately though, I do not know how many students at the conference plan on actually being career EMS providers or how many are around until they pave the way to a different career, but if this is any indication of what is coming up next, I for one am excited.

  • As an Arizonan, you have no idea. Great post! I wholeheartedly agree about the mindset of this particular population, which is why I love attending and presenting.