Top 10 can’t-miss podcasts of 2020

There was a lot to talk about this year, so don’t miss these must-listen episodes for a second time


A year ago, no one could have predicted what an interesting and fast-paced year 2020 would turn out to be for the industry. The activity EMS experienced over the course of the last 12 months led to dozens of high-quality conversations between EMS1 podcast hosts and industry experts, leaders and decision makers.

The EMS1 collection of podcasts includes:

Check out these newsmaker discussions and learn what you missed during this fast-paced and unprecedented year.

1. Inside EMS: The role of community paramedics during COVID-19

In this Inside EMS Podcast episode, co-hosts Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson are joined by five healthcare professionals to discuss how the use of community paramedics and community EMTs can make an impact on the workload of emergency services.

2. Medic Mindset Podcast: Thinking about shortness of breath

Ginger Locke sits down with Austin Travis County Deputy Medical Director, Dr. Jason Pickett, to discuss prehospital care of patients with a chief complaint of shortness of breath.

They cover the assessment, differential diagnosis and therapeutic interventions related to shortness of breath, working their way down the respiratory tree, thinking aloud as they go. Throw in a couple of case studies and you’ve got some delicious brain-nuggets for paramedic students everywhere.

Dr. Pickett emphasizes how medics should think before deciding to intubate and how point of care ultrasound helped discover the cause of refractory hypoxia in a trauma patient.

3. Inside EMS: What the 2020 EMS Trend Report reveals about the industry

In this episode, co-hosts Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson are joined by EMS1 Editor-in-Chief Kerri Hatt and EMS1 columnist Rob Lawrence to discuss the 2020 EMS Trend Report. This year's edition is the fifth iteration and includes answers from over 3,000 participants.

The report, produced in collaboration with Fitch & Associates and the National EMS Management Association, and sponsored by Pulsara, covers a variety of topics including retention, medical director involvement and EMS pay and benefits.

4. The MCHD Podcast: How to prevent, recognize and cure burnout in EMS

Dr. Remle Crowe, research scientist and project manager with ESO, joins the podcast to lend her tremendous expertise.

Before burnout can be tackled, it must be defined and recognized. This involves an awareness of burnout clues throughout the entire system, including EMS agencies, our coworkers and with individual providers.

Some simple and cost-effective strategies range from adequate vacation, which allows for batteries to recharge, to implementation of real-time clinical feedback. This feedback can be as complex as health data sharing with receiving institutions to sit-down chart rounding with medical directors.

Burnout is a fluid and dynamic process that varies with time and the individual. Therefore, proactive prevention techniques have to be flexible and adaptable as well. After listening to this episode, you’ll be armed with multiple tools to recognize and attack burnout within your EMS system.

5. Inside EMS: How will EMS be perceived after the global pandemic subsides?

Co-hosts Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson are joined by EMS1 Columnist Rob Lawrence, who shares the work being done at the national level to ensure the EMS industry is considered differently once the public health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Lawrence also shares his knowledge regarding reimbursement, ET3 and other issues on the minds of EMS providers.

6. The MCHD podcast: Examining red lights and sirens data with Jeff Jarvis, MD

We love nothing more than to tackle dogma with evidence on the MCHD Paramedic Podcast. In this episode, Casey Patrick, MD, FAEMS, assistant medical director for the Montgomery County Hospital District EMS, is joined by Williamson County and Marble Falls Area EMS Medical Director, Jeff Jarvis, MD, to discuss his recent prehospital emergency care manuscript, “Using Red Lights and Sirens for Emergency Ambulance Response: How Often are Potentially Life-Saving Interventions Performed?”, looking at the incidence of lifesaving interventions performed by EMS following a red lights and sirens response.

Why even look into this? Everyone knows that responding emergency traffic saves lives right? The existing evidence suggests otherwise, however, with red lights and sirens responses showing no change in patient mortality. Additionally, they only save 90 seconds in urban EMS settings, while also increasing the risk for vehicle crashes. This study’s objective was to add to the existing body of RLS research by looking at how many times a life-saving intervention is performed by EMS following an emergency response.

Dr. Jarvis and his research partners first had to come up with a list of potential life-saving interventions, which obviously leaves room for debate. However, they did an excellent job of including all potential life-saving interventions, even including time-sensitive emergency pre-alerts (STEMI/stroke/trauma/sepsis).

What did they find? In the ESO data set used containing almost 4,000,000 red lights and sirens responses from over 1,000 EMS agencies, potential life-saving interventions were performed in only 6.9% of scene responses.

What does this mean? The answer is multi-faceted and likely service specific. This should serve as a stimulus for all of us to look at our own red lights and sirens data in an effort to reduce unneeded emergency responses, while still trying to target time-sensitive situations.

7. EMS One-Stop: Saving more lives in a mass violence incident

Rob Larence chats with Joe O’Hare, superintendent of EMS field operations at Boston EMS. O'Hare served as the commander of dispatch operations during the Boston Marathon bombing and offers insight into the preparation put in place by the city of Boston to create an all-hazards incident management environment for all of their major city events.

O’Hare discusses the need to establish good working relationships with both first responder and hospital care leaders before disaster strikes. He also identifies the training program used to familiarize all staff with response to major incidents.

Read Rob's article on lessons identified from the Boston Marathon bombing after-action report and listen to the discussion below.

8. The Medic Mindset Podcast: Thinking about bradycardia

Ginger Locke sits down with Austin Travis County Associate Medical Director, Dr. Heidi Abraham, to discuss prehospital care of patients experiencing bradycardia.

They cover the assessment, differential diagnosis and therapeutic interventions related to bradycardia:

  • When is bradycardia the cause of the patient condition and when is it an unrelated finding?
  • What are the common causes of bradycardia and how does a medic think critically in order to differentiate those causes?
  • When should a medic use transcutaneous pacing and when is pharmacological intervention a better option?

They tackle all of these questions and more.

9. Inside EMS: How will NREMT testing changes impact EMS?

In this episode, co-hosts Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson discuss the latest change to the National Registry of EMTs cognitive test. The organization is making a change from multiple-choice questions to multiple-response questions. How will this affect testing, stress levels and preparation?

The discussion then switches to the EMS Counts Act recently introduced in Congress, which will allow for accurate counting of all industry personnel. What will this mean for our career field? 

10. Inside EMS: What to do about the EMS elephants in the room

In this episode, host Chris Cebollero speaks with guest host Rob Lawrence about his recent keynote address at the American Ambulance Association's Annual Conference. Lawrence shares his thoughts on his EMS "elephants in the room." Where should EMS stand on the issue of responding with lights and sirens? Do EMS practitioners need college degrees?

What was your favorite podcast from 2020, EMS related or otherwise? Share in the comments below. 

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