I recently read an article on EMS 2.0 at www.ambulancedriverfiles.com that point out that the many EMS providers judge themselves by their skills and not their knowledge. I have come to think that a lot of that is due to how we are educated. So I am going to talk about that.
Many Paramedics are taught the skills they need to perform the job. In class there is some glossing over of the processes of the body that allow it to function. Even the programs that are degree based the “paramedic” class takes up entirely too much of the curriculum. So if we are going to move toward a reboot of EMS let’s start at the beginning.
So what should we do. First the Paramedic Program should include a course that is the basis of the basic EMS knowledge. This class should include teaching the physical skills, NIMS training, and Vehicle Operations. You cannot be a Paramedic without understanding these things. 3 hours per semester.
Now First Semester should include a Baseline Anatomy and Physiology class. It should also include a course on Medical Terminology and Report writing. This should be complete the First Semester. It gives a strong basis for a Medics future.
Second Semester should have an actual cardiology Class. Paramedics have more effect on the cardiovascular system than any other. From 12 and 15 lead EKGs to many of the medications that we give cardiology is a large part of what EMS provides and we need the knowledge base to work on. I would include in this semester a pharmacology class as well. Each class would be 4 hours long.
Ok now we have a good baseline. Third Semester should be a Psychology course. It should also include a course on the Customer Service. Finally I would include a course on Computer Literacy. These things will have a major impact on the type of care our patients receive and we should cover it.
Final Semester should include your internship, and an A and P review. This takes paramedics from being skills based to actually being knowledge based. To be honest I would likely include a summer semester that is adds in a philosophy course and some other humanities course. Anything that encourages thought would be good for EMS.