EMS managers and leaders wrapped up a two-day workshop in Washington, D.C., today focused on building field training and evalutation programs. Part of the EMS Today Conference and Exposition, the workshop was led by Skip Kirkwood, MS, JD, EMT-P, immediate past-president of the National EMS Management Association (NEMSMA) and chief of the Emergency Medical Services Division of Wake County (N.C.) Department of Emergency Medical Services, and Troy Hagen, NEMSMA president and CEO of Care Ambulance in Orange County, CA.
The workshop is designed to educate EMS supervisors, educators, managers and executives about how to develop a sound, legally-defensible field training and evaluation program (FTEP) and smoothly and effectively integrate new employees into their agencies. It also assists managers in strengthening and solidifying their existing field training programs.
Another key aspect of the EMS-FTEP program is that it addresses how EMS agencies can effectively move newly hired employees to "independent practice" status, using processes, forms and systems that provide new employees complete opportunities for success, and helps ensure that terminations of those unable to meet standards are not reversed.
Kirkwood and Hagen explain that many senior EMS officers believe that once a new paramedic completes pre-service training, they should be ready to “hit the street” and function as a productive member of a two-person ambulance crew, In many agencies, this new paramedic will be expected to lead an EMT partner and to provide first-line advanced life support to critical patients.
However, in today’s EMS environment, this approach is no longer viable. Kirkwood and Hagan advised attendees that EMS agencies must “fill in the gaps in cognitive, psychomotor and affective performance for new personnel to be successful in the field."
The issue of service liability was also addressed and noted as something every senior officer must be aware of and guard against. They pointed out that professional, valid, documented training is the key to liability mitigation.
Other key points during the workshop:
- There is a gap between the knowledge, skills and abilities of a "new graduate" paramedic and what is necessary for success in the field in YOUR agency.
- Filling that gap requires a strategic, structured approach to training and evaluating the new employee.
- If those evaluations are used to make employment decisions, they are "tests" according to EEOC standards and must be both valid and reliable.
- Besides the liability that can come from improperly terminating a new employee, an employer may be liable for negligence if an unfit employee is NOT terminated, under a variety of legal theories, including negligent hiring, retentions, supervision, entrustment (with dangerous instrumentalities) and training
Participants in this well-structured NEMSMA 16-hour workshop will now be able to return home to their departments and implement the EMS Field Training & Evaluation Program in their departments
For more information on the NEMSMA EMS Field Training & Evaluation Program, go to http://nemsma.org/Education/tabid/465/Default.aspx.