Although it_s common to find a single course in EMS management, the detail and academic rigor associated with EMS management education appears inadequate when compared with other public safety degrees, such as fire science and criminal justice. However, our profession is about to take the next step in preparing the workforce and leadership of the future.
A committee at the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) Conference, held at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Md., in June 2006, opened dialogue on the need for a model course in EMS management. The actions taken to establish the professional development model for EMS and a standardized management curriculum were also in response to requests from fire science programs trying to accommodate fire-based, municipal, private and volunteer organizations. These groups found themselves with an increasing role in EMS, but with no real training on how to operate an efficient and clinically sophisticated system.
The FESHE model has provided a more direct, low-cost and grassroots process. Although this process was initiated at the National Fire Academy within the fire-based FESHE process, the intent was for all EMS organizations, including third-service and for-profit agencies, to be able to embrace it.
The NEMSMC committee developed working definitions of the management levels that use public safety and EMS as a focus. The four levels established were:
- EMS Supervisor: Chief or leader of a single unit or crew;
- EMS Manager: Manager of more than one crew or supervisor;
- EMS Chief Officer: Leader of more than one manager; responsible for a major component of an EMS organization; and
- EMS Executive: Head of the organization or senior staff.
These titles were incorporated into the diagram similar to that of the fire service higher education model for professional development. In addition to standardizing titles, the committee assigned minimum competencies to each level of management.
The focus of the December meeting was to further define the competencies by involving more institutions and obtaining feedback from invited subject matter experts. After reviewing the work completed in November, the committee and experts revised the competencies matrix and then transformed the 14 attributes and 15 concepts into proposed core EMS course titles and descriptions. (Download the entire report below to review the competencies matrix).
The committee identified the following seven proposed EMS courses: Foundations of EMS Systems, EMS Operations Human Resource Management, Management of EMS, Quality Management and Research, EMS Educator/Instruction, Human Resources Management, and Safety/Risk Management.
The proposed management competencies still require industry-wide comment and editing to establish objective descriptions and comprehensive competencies.
For more on this project, read the full article in July 2007 JEMS.
Bruce Evans, MPA, NREMT-P, is the EMS chief of the North Las Vegas Fire Department and the fire science program coordinator at College of Southern Nevada. He_s also the chair of the Health and Safety Committee of the NAEMT, a member of the FESHE steering committee at the NFA and a JEMS editorial board member. He can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org.