First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Is EMS REALLY a calling?

How do WE get engaged?

This video shows how a population was motivated to participate in their first free elections.

The Return of Ben Ali. On January 14th 2011, we chased former Dictator President Ben Ali out of Tunisia. Since then many had lost interest in politics.

After many uneffective attempts to push Tunisian people to go out and vote for the upcoming elections, a new campaign was set up in La Goulette, to the shock of residents.

Their reaction was filmed. Results: On October 23rd, there was 88% turnout when 55% were expected.

EMS: More than a job (??)

This year's theme selected by the American College of Emergency Physicians is: EMS: More than a Job, a Calling

If you have been following the posts by National EMS Management Association President Skip Kirkwood, you may have a different observation. He is not a snarky pundit, but someone who has been doing heavy lifting for EMS. I would say he is a little frustrated.

Working conditions for many paramedics are grim, near minimum wage.

The US Department of Labor identified 2010 median pay for 226,500 "paramedics and emts" at $30,360 per year ($14.60 per hour).

As a contrast, the 310,600 firefighters 2010 median pay is $45,250 per year ($21.76 per hour). Police and detectives make more than firefighters.  Registered nurses even more than police and detective, at $64,690 per year ($31.10/hour).

I appreciate that this year's theme is:

… reflecting the idea that EMS practicioners don't choose this field for big salaries, comfortable working conditions, or 9-to-5 hours; they have a true calling to help and care for others in their hour of need.

Over the same 38 years, physicians dedicated to the practice of emergency medicine have significantly improved their compensation and professional status within the universe of medicine.  Nurses have transformed their profession.

Why are medics still near minimum wage? Why are some single-role ems providers engaged in 9-1-1 service without the same worker compensation presumptions that fire and police have?

Celebrating working for free does not pay the rent

My three passions; teaching, writing and emergency service, are not known as wealth builders.

I went to work full-time as a community college fire science program director with a master's degree and a dozen year's experience as a part-time faculty member. I was making less money than the rookie firefighters in the classroom.

At the beginning of every academic year, one of the college leaders would celebrate that a retired federal worker was teaching for free. After four years I left the college because of poor pay and threadbare resources.

This week we are going to look at issues affecting the profession of out-of-hospital care that will probably make you annoyed or uncomfortable.

Mike "FossilMedic" Ward

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