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Thoughts From A Clinician

EMS Vision 20/20

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           It is 2017 and we are on the brink of some really exciting things in the field of Emergency Medical Services.  The care is arguably more advanced than ever and to see field providers and medical directors really getting on board with evidence based medicine has been astounding.  It is an exciting time to be in EMS.  We know we are headed to bigger and better things, but the question now becomes…what things?  What are the bigger and better items that are on the horizon?  What does the future hold for EMS?  Are we public safety?  Are we health care?  We have had this identity crisis going on a few years now and the answer is no clearer now than it was then.  It is very apparent that there is a lot discrepancy in the answers that people have for these questions.  As the saying goes “you could ask ten EMS practitioners these same questions and get ten different answers”.  In order to answer these questions, it is clear that we need to find common ground.  EMS is now and always will be about the patients we care for.  However, we must think about the future of the profession and how we as colleagues, friends, and co-workers can work to improve EMS for future generations. 



            The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration released their EMS Agenda for the Future; a road map for where EMS is headed (1).  This document, if you have not read it, is great.  It talks about what EMS is going to do in the future.  What the document does not do is lay the framework for how to get there.  Also, there is not a clear pathway for advanced practitioners and community paramedicine.  The EMS Agenda for the Future gives us great thoughts and goals, but how do we work toward them?  How do we become better?


     20/20 vision is perfect vision, right?  In my opinion, there is just no clarity as to where EMS is headed and the future for EMS.  Am I suggesting that EMS will just become nonexistent one day?  Not at all.  My purpose for writing this is just to get us thinking …. How or can we achieve or require more education or raise training standards?  How are we going to improve patient care and maximize recruitment and retention?  Obviously I do not have all the answers.  These are things I just want my colleagues to think about and offer suggestions.  A big part of why we don’t have a clear vision for the future is we don’t talk about it.  We are quick to complain about the current state of things, but rarely take the initiative to create or drive change!

 Let’s rally around each other and our patients and push each other and the profession into a new era in EMS.  It is my challenge to each of you to think about what you would like to see EMS become in the future.  I hope that gives you clarity for your personal future and the future of EMS.  Thanks for reading my blog.  Don’t forget to head over to for your Critical Care educational needs.  Be safe out there and remember to always think like a clinician!



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