Medic, Paramedic or EMT

I always felt a little uncomfortable using the word “medic” in my articles, blog and Facebook posts. I am not a Paramedic, and never tried to pass myself off as one. I’m trained to run a full code, administer cardiac meds, intubate and most of the things Paramedics do, but in Rhode Island it is unnecessary to be a Paramedic. We have something called an EMT-Cardiac, which is unique among the 50 states.

What can I say, Rhode Island loves to be different. Times are a changing though, as I learned yesterday from fellow Rhode Islander and Paramedic Andy Raposo, who is lead EMS instructor at Community Training Center.

Andy writes:

RI actually changed the levels a few months ago, with all classes enrolling after January first following the national registry’s advanced EMT curriculum and testing procedures, then returning for an additional (minimum 70 hour) classroom program to cover the RI-specific skills and meds. The new title is “Advanced EMT Cardiac.” Current EMT-C’s are grandfathered and can continue to renew their licenses forever but nobody can enter at that level effective this month.

Allegedly we have a huge protocol overhaul coming any time now, but I keep hearing different dates that it will be introduced. RI is quite behind the times from a scientific and evidence based medicine perspective, and our protocols are in serious need of rewrites.”

I love being “Grandfathered.” As I write this my granddaughter, Kinsley is sleeping comfortably next to me, the sound of clicking from my keyboard soothing, it seems.

I asked on a Paramedic Community Facebook Page, (Paramedics on Facebook, closed group but they let me in so their standards can’t be very high) whether using “medic” was offensive to Paramedics. The responses were varied, some were a little nutty, but most were well thought out and appreciated. Bottom line for me is to use EMT where it is appropriate and Paramedic if that fits.

Tom Bouthillet probably made the most sense, no surprise there, he has been a voice of reason for me for half of my EMS career and I always learn something when I read his EMS 12 lead blog.

I cringe whenever I hear “Firefighters, police, and EMS workers are on the scene of a . . .” The correct term for an EMS professional is paramedic. Let’s adopt the Canadian model of primary, advanced, and critical care paramedic, and get rid of the term EMT, if for no other reason than so the public knows what to call us.”

He certainly got me thinking, and when I actually do that, I like to think big.

Here’s my plan to revolutionize EMS, put pride back into the heart and soul of the EMT’s and Paramedics doing the work and show the world that a dysfunctional system can be saved.

  1. Change the name from Emergency Medical Services to Mobile Medical Transport.
  2. Any and all 911 responses will be done by person’s with advanced Paramedic training, and the Paramedics, either privately employed or fire department members will be paid the prevailing wage set by locally negotiated Fire/EMS departments. Local Fire Departments will handle the calls, and at their digression will utilize all resources at their disposal, including private ambulance companies who meet 911 response criteria.
  3. Routine medical transports will be handled by private Mobile Medical Transport companies, staffed by the equivalent of EMT Basics

That’s it. Now wasn’t that easy?


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