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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

What's the point of EMS competitions?

By Arthur Hsieh

Editor's note: In Greensboro, N.C., a group of responders are participating in a hunting challenge that tests their EMS skills.

Newsflash: EMS providers are a competitive group. I know, kind of shock isn't it? I mean, who doesn't think that they are the "best of the best" when it comes to providing care to their patients?

As corny as they can be, these types of "training" can be very beneficial. It promotes a healthy learning environment, paying attention to the details, and working closely with your team members. It also spices up the run-of-the-mill training drill, and can sometimes bring in new ways of thinking. If the problem being presented is very complex, it may take a different approach toward solving it, that might go beyond the standard protocol and scene management. Those new paradigms might make it into general practice, which promotes growth within an EMS system.

Finally, competitions such as these as great to promote Esprit de corps — literally the desire of members of a group to succeed as a group. This not only refers to individual team success, but the other teams as well. I think that's a healthy way to approach these events — and everyone wins.

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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