5 observations on EMS1 continuing education poll

EMS providers give us a glimpse into their opinions about continuing education


I found the EMS1 Poll Call on continuing education interesting for a number of reasons. I don’t believe anyone is calling this scientific, but it is a nice glimpse at people’s perceptions. It is self-reported, insightful and maybe even questionable in some areas. Take a look at the poll results and see if you agree with my five observations:

1. Slightly more medics than EMTS responded

I find it interesting that there are a relatively equal number of EMTs and paramedics responding to the survey. In national testing, there are about eight to 10 EMTs tested for every one paramedic, yet in the poll the medics slightly edged out the EMTs. I think paramedics may be online more and looking for CE more. The EMT numbers seem low. I want more EMTs involved in reporting their satisfaction and difficulties finding continuing education.

2. More EMS providers wait until last hours to earn CE than reported

I don’t believe that 80 percent of EMS providers do their CE throughout the cycle and only 5 percent do it in the last 30 days. I teach online courses, and 60 to 70 percent of the course activity occurs in the last 24 hours of a week. This poll is self-reporting and it is quite possible we are in a bit of denial in this one.

3. Prevalence of employer provided CE is valuable

I’m glad that employers are providing the CE. It is a sign that the employees and volunteers are valued, as is their education, by employers. I’m also happy that EMS conferences are still on the list. It is important to get out there and meet people from other areas. There are some differences in providers and agencies we can learn from and there are also surprising similarities between providers.

4. We are still looking for great CE

The fact that half the providers are satisfied with their CE shows they don’t realize what could be. I don’t think we have found the “knock your socks off” CE delivery system out there yet. I believe distance education is valid and convenient, but we haven’t found the presentation and delivery system that makes it stand out, that makes learning fun and easy and presents the right stuff. If you want to know how to snake a nasal airway, go back to your EMT book. CE should be enriching, above and beyond and can’t-put-it-down dynamic.

5. Shift to EMS providers determining their own CE needs

Over 1/3 of people (a majority) believed the medical director was the best person to determine CE needs. I’d like to see that shift to EMS leaders and the providers themselves. I believe in the benefits of an involved physician in EMS systems, yet I also believe we, as EMS providers, should have a strong and autonomous role in our direction. CE is just one example of that.

Do you agree or disagree with my observations? What are your observations?

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