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Get Involved in the Future of EMS

Changes occur on a daily basis, and sometimes we don t even notice them. This is especially true in EMS. But after a period of time, we may suddenly realize the differences in the way we currently deliver EMS care from when we first started in the field.

Do you wonder how these changes and differences happened? Was it just by chance or by choice? Peter Drucker said about the future, The best way to predict the future is to create it. It requires action on your part. Individuals like you, who are interested and committed to the profession of EMS, need to be active participants in shaping the future. The following are a number of ways for you to get involved in creating the future of your profession:

Join a national EMS organization. A number of EMS organizations are actively involved in the pending changes of EMS at the national level. With some research, you can determine which group interests you and could benefit from your ideas or effort.

Join or create a regional EMS organization. Do you seek out new ideas from other agencies including local, in-state and out-of-state? You may be more interested in participating in a local group that addresses EMS issues in your area. Involvement with other agencies can often provide valuable input regarding improvements in your own agency.

Volunteer to serve on an EMS committee. If you have an opportunity to work on a committee whether it s local, state or national take the time to get involved. This involvement can lead to opportunities to work on other committees or projects.

Attend a national EMS conference. If you ve attended a national conference, you know how much it energizes you. Such events offer numerous opportunities for you to meet and network with other EMS personnel from around the country and allow you to exchange ideas and information. You should take advantage of attending a conference outside your region to gain a proper perspective on current issues, trends and equipment. Make it a goal to meet at least one new person every day of the event. Introduce yourself to someone and take a few minutes to get to know them. You may not be able to attend a national conference every year, but make plans to attend one whenever time and resources permit.

Attend a state EMS conference. In addition to a national conference, also attend your state s annual EMS conference. State conferences are another great opportunity to meet with others and discuss issues related to EMS in your area.

Meet and get to know your state EMS Director. Take the time to sit down and develop a working relationship with your state EMS director. Get involved in learning state EMS issues (and opportunities) and how you can be a part of the solution.

Know your politicians. Being familiar with your local, state and national elected officials provides you with avenues for needed improvements that involve changing state or federal statutes. Establish a relationship before asking for their help or support in any cause. In return, you should offer to provide feedback to them on EMS issues.

Read national EMS magazines. The amount of information in a single issue of a national EMS magazine is tremendous and should be an important part of your regular reading material. They provide you with ideas, burning issues and, in many cases, a forecast for the future.

Submit an article idea. If you have an idea for article, especially one that highlights a unique feature of your organization or a procedure you think would be of interest to other organizations, you should contact an EMS publication and make a proposal. Author guidelines and query expectations are usually available on their Web sites.

Read EMS research material and get involved in developing and conducting your own EMS research. The Prehospital Care Research Forum is an excellent place to review EMS research. In many cases, the future of EMS is dependent on the quality of current and prospective research.

Develop a list of EMS Web sites including those sponsored by EMS magazines (such as www.jems.com), and national EMS organizations (such as the National Registry, National Association of EMTs, the National Association of EMS Physicians, and the National Association of State EMS Directors). Visit each site weekly for any new information that has been posted.

Sign up for EMS list-serves. The benefit of being on a list-serve is that timely EMS information is e-mailed to you, so you don t have to search the Web unnecessarily.

During the past 30 years, significant changes have occurred in the design, delivery and management of EMS, and that same amount of change will happen in the next 10 years, or sooner. The acceleration rate of change is much faster today than it was a decade ago. The key to a successful future is being informed, involved and active. To quote Margaret Mead, Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. You can make a difference in the future by your actions now and your continued efforts. Change doesn t occur without people who care to make a difference. Now is your chance. Get started today!


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