Right now Paramedics are just that, pets to the healthcare system. You are trained like a Dog, so you get to work like a Dog and get paid like a Dog. Yes, once in awhile they will add new skills, and perhaps award you another paper certificate of completion (like Dog Training School). For those insecure enough to need more, they might even throw in a new letter or two for your title. But please, do not get these Training Programs confused with Education. Training teaches you what to DO Education teaches you how to THINK. Professionals are Educated, not Trained.
A college-level specialty education is one of the hallmarks of being a true professional. Professionals have degrees, not certificates. Professionals don’t use time clocks. If being professional was only a description of behavior, than most of the Paramedics I know are true professionals.
But the healthcare world sees us as little more than ambulance drivers, trained monkeys who follow rigid protocols and work for bananas. If we would do the hard thing and demand a real education, this would fix itself in only a few short years. Increase the educational requirements and the available workforce would suddenly drop.
Then the economics of supply and demand would exert its influence to increase wages dramatically. More good people would stay in the field, and with their improved education and experience they would provide better patient care. The real impact on healthcare costs would be pocket change. Actually, we could CUT healthcare costs by increasing pre-hospital pay, and I’ll share why in a later blog.
We should keep our best and brightest, and use their valuable experience to save lives. We all know how much turnover EMS has, and for very good reason. You can make more money sitting in a tollbooth giving change.
Everyone has to grow up sometime; I know I did when my kids came along. Only by demanding an education equal to our responsibilities will we advance our standing in the healthcare world.
Some will say it is too much and they will protest they don’t have the time or money. But only with the education of a true professional will we ever be able to stop begging for treats.