Your Voice is Needed
Membership in Your Professional Association Helps EMS and Helps You
By Pamela Lane
Executive Director, NAEMT
With limited funds available to most of us these days, many EMS practitioners wonder about the value of membership in a professional association. Market research suggests that, compared to other medical and allied health professions, EMS practitioners more frequently choose not to join. However, evidence confirms that association membership is critical to the strength of the EMS profession and a great value for members.
Here are the facts:
1. Professionalism begins with commitment.
Membership in an EMS association is a visible demonstration of your support for EMS professionalism. Associations such as the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) have the ability to influence professional standards, public perception of the profession, and the perception of EMS within the larger medical community. But numbers matter — our ability to influence is limited by the level to which EMS practitioners support their association.
2. There is strength in numbers.
The collective voice of EMS rests with the hundreds of thousands of EMS practitioners who make up the backbone of EMS in our country. The more EMS practitioners join, the louder our collective voice. With your help, we can advocate for the issues that are most important to you. As an example, NAEMT was instrumental in getting heart attack and stroke coverage included under the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits legislation, and worked successfully to increase Medicare payments, particularly in rural areas.
3. It’s sound economics.
The benefits offered are worth much more than the cost of membership. Professional associations are almost always nonprofit organizations. We offer great packages of benefits and services as a way to recruit and retain our members. Discounts are available on EMS conference registrations, continuing education, insurance, EMS magazine subscriptions, plus many other products and services. And, members routinely receive special offers on incentive items like T-shirts and decals.
4. It’s good for your career.
Association membership presents great opportunities to develop your leadership skills. Members can:
- Work on committees and projects that develop and oversee programs, address EMS workforce issues, help the association increase membership, or prepare position statements on proposed legislation and regulations that impact EMS;
- Represent the association to other organizations within the EMS community and with government agencies;
- Serve as a member of the Board of Directors. At NAEMT, all active members are eligible to serve as directors.
These volunteer positions provide great leadership opportunities and can strengthen your résumé.
5. Association membership keeps you connected.
Associations routinely provide their members with updates on what is happening in EMS and in the association. Knowing what is happening and what may happen in the future keeps you ahead of the curve. NAEMT provides quarterly reports and monthly online updates to our members on the key issues impacting EMS, workforce information, and association activities and events. Members get a full report on the state of the association and EMS at the annual membership meeting, and our web site is continually updated to keep members informed.
6. It gives you perspective.
Networking with other EMS practitioners gives you new insight and helps you maintain a balanced perspective about your profession. Networking allows you to share experiences, discuss issues of concern, pass on good ideas, and build friendships. It gives you the chance to discuss EMS issues with members of the profession outside your EMS service. Members can network at annual conferences and through work on committees and projects.
So, why not join? Your profession needs you, your association needs you, and you will benefit from association membership. Take advantage of the value of membership by joining NAEMT, as well as your state or regional EMS association.
To find out more about membership in your professional association, visit www.naemt.org or call 1-800-346-2368.