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Confessions of an EMS conference addict

For paramedic, educator, and blogger Scott Kier, national EMS conferences are events to never miss

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Scott Kier, center, discusses paramedic best practices with Chris Montera and Anne Montera at an EMS conference.

Image Scott Kier

By Scott Kier

When I boarded a plane in New England bound for Dallas, Texas for EMS World Expo 2010 – my first national EMS conference –I knew almost immediately that it was not going to be my last. Since then I have not missed a major EMS conference, and I always find myself counting the days until the next one.

Here are the top three things that keep me coming back and why I encourage you to attend your first, tenth or twentieth EMS conference.

Top-notch education

The quality of the speakers at the major conferences in the U.S. is second to none. There is always something new to learn, and always some new take on an old problem. It does not matter if your passion is pediatrics, cardiac care, disaster response, or a bevy of other topics; you will find something for you.

Frequently overlooked, however, is the availability of the speakers outside of the classroom. While walking the exhibit hall a few years ago at EMS Today, a friend of mine encountered one of the instructors that he had in a class earlier that morning. He was able to engage the instructor in a 10-minute, one-on-one conversation about the session.

Always something new in the exhibit hall

If you are a gadget person who likes to see what is on the horizon in prehospital care, then the exhibit hall is for you. If you like flashing LED lights, and big, new ambulances, the exhibit hall has what you are looking for. If you want to pick up some free continuing education or just collect some tchotchke and pens from the venders, well, you can do that too.

The exhibit hall is a place I never have enough time to explore. I find myself walking lap after lap, always discovering something new to look at.

Passionate EMS professionals abound

I saved the best for last. If you want to meet people with a passion for EMS then a national EMS conference is the place to do it. The folks sitting in class or walking the exhibit hall are all there for the same reason – to learn how to take better care of their patients.

The social events are plentiful and fun. It is easy to engage in conversation with someone who works in a different system than you, but who is facing the same challenges that you face every day. There have been countless times that I have said to somebody from the other side of the country, “We have the exact same problem!” The conversations add perspective to my service and EMS career, and act as a launching point for solutions to those challenges.

If I have met you at a conference, I look forward to seeing you again and catching up. If you have not made your way to one of these major industry events yet, then what are you waiting for? It’s not too late to get yourself to EMS Today or start planning for EMS World Expo. You won’t regret it.

About the Author

Scott Kier has been involved in EMS since the age of 15. When he started his college search, he quickly made the decision to make EMS his career, leading him to Springfield College and their Emergency Medical Services Management program. Since graduation he has worked as a paramedic and supervisor in Springfield, Massachusetts and is currently working as a paramedic in New Castle County, Delaware. Scott writes the EMS in the New Decade blog and is active in the social media and podcasting EMS communities.