Paramedic. EM physician. Flight doc.

EMS week pre-kicks off with a bang with a career medic who changed careers while staying true to her roots. Dr. Cynthia Griffin joins us LIVE!

Catch the audio on #IncidentReport, a top-rated Science and Medicine podcast on iTunes!

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Join the conversation in the comments on the original Facebook Live video.

2 Responses to “Flight Doc Shop Talk and EMS Rocks”

  1. joshua kinnunen

    As a medic who worked in the field for ten years turned RN and now APRN in the ER, I always have been torn regarding EMS and their standing in the medical community. I liken the advancement of EMS today to how nursing was 40-50 years ago. RNs realized that they wanted more autonomy, responsibility, and respect which prompted the establishment of ASN and BSN programs. This has lead to the current state of nurses and the influence they have over the entire medical system and the public. I feel that EMS is in the infancy of this. I myself have a BS in EMS and see the movement towards AS and BS degrees as a requirement for paramedics as a great first step towards gaining this respect.

    Paramedics are grossly under paid for their job. $15 an hour for a starting medic is insulting but common place. Ambulance rides are the best deal in medicine. I challenge anyone in healthcare to run a code and only get to bill $900 and then $12 per mile driven.

    I do feel that saying medics do everything is an overstatement. It took going to nursing school to realize how much I didn’t know as a medic (the unknown unknown as ZDogg says). EMTs and medics are subject area experts in trauma, resuscitation, and medical emergencies such as anaphylaxis or status epilepticus. However once they are outside this area of expertise their actual knowledge falls off quickly. My paramedic instructor once said 90% of what we are taught is for 10% of the patients we care for turned out to be pretty close to the truth.

    This leads me to my concern with advanced technology for EMS such as ultrasound. Procedures that have typically been mainstays of EMS such as intubation have been attacked due to reported low success rates. I understand that this rate is greatly variable and there are many influences on success rates in the field. However there could be weeks to months between my intubation attempts. If ultrasound is something that takes constant practice to be proficient at (which I whole heartedly agree with due to my limited ultrasound usage in the ER) I can see some great perils to be had with widespread EMS ultrasound usage. Especially if this leads to extended scene times when getting enroute to the ER is what is best for the patient. Continuing education and simulation time comes as a premium as EMS companies look to save money. It can be hard to get the necessary repititions on an airway manikin to stay proficient at intubation. I would worry that opportunities for ultrasound simulations would be even more rare.

    I have a great deal of respect for good medics and appericate the critical job they have within our healthcare team. I look forward to a future when EMS personnel receive the respect they deserve as professionals and are compensated as such. However let’s not over exaggerate their contribution to medicine anymore than we should discount the contribitions of CNAs. We all have out roles in the health care continuum and their is more than enough patients to go around for all of us.

    BTW I had not heard the Medicare uber joke before. That’s damn funny.

    Reply
  2. joshua kinnunen

    As a medic who worked in the field for ten years turned RN and now APRN in the ER, I always have been torn regarding EMS and their standing in the medical community. I liken the advancement of EMS today to how nursing was 40-50 years ago. RNs realized that they wanted more autonomy, responsibility, and respect which prompted the establishment of ASN and BSN programs. This has lead to the current state of nurses and the influence they have over the entire medical system and the public. I feel that EMS is in the infancy of this. I myself have a BS in EMS and see the movement towards AS and BS degrees as a requirement for paramedics as a great first step towards gaining this respect. However I remember when I told my manager at my first ambulance company that I had earned my BS in EMS. His response was “that’s great, get in your truck there are calls holding.” Obtaining my degree never granted me any advancement in pay or respect in the field as a medic.

    Paramedics are grossly under paid for their job. $15 an hour for a starting medic is insulting but common place. Ambulance rides are the best deal in medicine. I challenge anyone in healthcare to run a code and only get to bill $900 and then $12 per mile driven.

    I do feel that saying medics do everything is an overstatement. It took going to nursing school to realize how much I didn’t know as a medic (the unknown unknown as ZDogg says). EMTs and medics are subject area experts in trauma, resuscitation, and medical emergencies such as anaphylaxis or status epilepticus. However once they are outside this area of expertise their actual knowledge falls off quickly. My paramedic instructor once said 90% of what we are taught is for 10% of the patients we care for turned out to be pretty close to the truth.

    This leads me to my concern with advanced technology for EMS such as ultrasound. Procedures that have typically been mainstays of EMS such as intubation have been attacked due to reported low success rates. I understand that this rate is greatly variable and there are many influences on success rates in the field. However there could be weeks to months between my intubation attempts on the ambulance. If ultrasound is something that takes constant practice to be proficient at (which I whole heartedly agree with due to my limited ultrasound usage in the ER) I can see some great perils to be had with widespread EMS ultrasound usage. Especially if this leads to extended scene times when getting enroute to the ER is what is best for the patient. Continuing education and simulation time comes at a premium as EMS companies look to save money. It can be hard to get the necessary repititions on an airway manikin to stay proficient at intubation. I would worry that opportunities for ultrasound simulations would be even more rare.

    I have a great deal of respect for good medics and appericate the critical job they have within our healthcare team. I look forward to a future when EMS personnel receive the respect they deserve as professionals and are compensated as such. However let’s not over exaggerate their contribution to medicine anymore than we should discount the contribitions of CNAs. We all have our roles in the health care continuum and their is more than enough patients to go around for all of us.
    BTW I had not heard the Medicare uber joke before. That’s damn funny.

    Reply

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