Clinton, Miss. — The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) Board of Directors has approved a position statement supporting and encouraging the establishment of a “just culture” environment within all EMS agencies. The term “just culture” refers to a values-supportive system of shared accountability where health care organizations are accountable for the systems they have designed and for responding to the behaviors of their staff in a fair and just manner. Staff, in turn, are accountable for the quality of their choices and for reporting both their errors and system vulnerabilities.
The just culture recognizes that EMS practitioners are confronted on a daily basis with a diverse, difficult, and ambiguous work environment, which demands dedication, regular training and a focus on providing accurate and critical lifesaving emergency medical services. Practitioners, along with the EMS agencies that employ them, must understand the potential for medical errors while providing emergency medical services, and can appreciate the subsequent learning opportunities that are created when these errors are appropriately analyzed and managed.
A just culture environment benefits not only EMS practitioners and agencies, but also patients and the public at large.
"The position statement on Just Culture was created through the collaboration of two NAEMT committees — the Health and Safety Commitee and the Advocacy Committee,” says NAEMT President Connie Meyer. “EMS can learn from other industries, such as the airline industry, that developing a just culture can create an environment of responsible decision-making and practices that can increase safety for patients, practitioners and the public.”