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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

EMS Week survey: The results

Responses suggest to me that we old-timers have not done enough to help our next generation thrive in the profession

By Arthur Hsieh

Editor's note: Check out the results from last week's EMS Week survey.

Last week, EMS1 ran a short survey asking for your opinions regarding this year's National EMS Week theme: "More than a job. A calling."

While totally unscientific, I thought the responses were illuminating.

First, it's definitely a calling. Of the 190 respondents, more than 84 percent felt that EMS was a calling rather than simply a job.

More than half of us have been in the field 11 years or more, and an astounding 68 percent indicated that when we retire, it would be from EMS.

Second, nearly 80 percent of the EMS providers who said they plan on leaving EMS in less than 10 years indicated said that increased compensation and career opportunities would help keep us working longer in the field.

These responses suggest to me that we old-timers have not done enough to help our next generation thrive in the profession.

The excitement and "open frontier" mentality of the first 50 years of modern EMS needs to be replaced with long-term, steady evolution and strong foundations in education, compensation and expanded opportunities for growth.

This challenge is not insurmountable, but it is tough work requiring sacrifices from all. We're getting there, but we still have a ways to go.

About the author

EMS1 Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. Since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at an EMS service in Northern California. Contact Art at
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