The Kids are Alright – Follow Up

This post can also be found at The EMS leader hosted by EMS Blogs. Last week, we talked about the problems and challenges presented to us by the young work force that some EMS leaders are having a difficult time adapting to dealing with.  I have been giving a great deal of thought to what the solution to this problem is, and I cannot help but feel that it is evidence of a need to change how we train.  No, I am not talking about adding hours to an EMT class, or teaching CEU classes on how to be what some would consider a better employee, I am talking instead about changing how we utilize our field trainers. Any EMS service that cares about what happens in the street, and cares about how their patients and customers are treated has established some form of a field training program, usually staffed by experienced employees who are initially shadowed by and then later evaluate the new EMT or paramedic to make sure that they are ready to be cut loose and released to practice their trade on the unsuspecting public.  I have seen many different methods used over the years from a group teaching approach, or a one on one tactic where the new employee spends all of their time with one FTO.  Others use a system where the “student” is bounced around from preceptor to preceptor to prevent them from picking up just one person’s bad habits.  They each have their own merits and shortcomings, but the real testament to their effectiveness is what we do with our FTO’s and their new employees once all of their requirements have been met. Far too often in too many systems, employees finish up their precepting time and they are given the “okay” to hit the streets.  From there, they are on their own.  They might get a follow up six months or a year out to say “good job, keep it up” but beyond that the contact is minimal.  Maybe what we need is to establish a stronger bond and relationship between field trainers and new paramedics or EMTs and instead utilize them as mentors. When there...

The Kids are Alright

This post can also by found at The EMS Leader hosted by EMS Blogs. One of the unfortunate things about having a new job is I fall at the bottom of the list when it comes to vacation time.  With the days off that I could get I was forced to miss the last day of EMS Expo in Las Vegas this year.  While following on Twitter though, I caught Greg Friese commenting on a panel discussion by members of the National EMS Management Association (NEMSMA for short) during a program called “The EMS Situation Room: NEMSMA Administrators, Managers, and Chiefs Forum.”  To sum up the discussion simply, the focus of the forum turned to what we will refer to as the “youth movement” in EMS today. As a former supervisor for a service that likes to populate itself with lesser experienced individuals, it has become clear that the work force is changing, and it seems like some of the “old guard” is having difficulty dealing with a lot of the new attitudes and changing needs of the work force.  The entire topic is something that has certainly raised my eyebrow, and it is really something that we need to look at from the first day of EMT class moving forward to someone’s last day with an EMS service. When I was in Washington DC this year for EMS Today, I was on a podcast hosted by Dave Aber where the panel included two of my paramedic instructors from Springfield College.  One of the main topics of discussion was the changes that they had witnessed in their student population over the years.  Fifteen or twenty years ago, when paramedicine was still in its infant stages, most of the student body was made up of people who had been practicing EMS for a number of years.  The vast majority of paramedic students were street smart, seasoned adult learners.  We staffed ourselves from the inside using people who were already integrated into the system and had a strong foundation and framework to help them through class.  As time has gone on though, both the work force and the pool of students have gotten younger and less...

New Endeavors

Last week, I had a very interesting and very exciting prospect proposed to me.  David Konig who runs EMS Blogs  and writes primarily at The Social Medic  contacted me and asked me if I had any interest in being part of a new project that he was putting together.  As Dave looked around the internet, he saw a distinct lacking of EMS related blogs that addressed management and leadership topics so he decided to address that by creating a blog appropriately titled The EMS Leader. The EMS Leader will be managed by a series of contributors including myself discussing topics that we feel should be important to leaders and managers.  Although I am currently not involved at a management level, I am excited that Dave thought enough about me and my writing to include me in his newest endeavor. Look for my post to hit the internet Wednesday morning.  Posts will also be shared here, and can be sorted using the category “The EMS Leader” on my blog. In the meantime, go check out the posts that Dave already has up!  The blog is already rolling, and there is some good stuff there. Share...