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The Importance of EMS Recertification

The Importance of EMS Recertification

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By Allison G. S. Knox, M.A., EMT-B, faculty member at American Military University

Certifications are an important aspect of career development: They help keep individuals engaged and knowledgeable about best practices and policies. In emergency medical services (EMS), certifications are an important way to make sure individuals have the appropriate knowledge and skills to continue working in the field.

[Related Article: The Need to Avoid EMS Staffing Reductions During Budget Cuts]

The EMS recertification process for emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics is time-consuming. Considering how diverse the various certifications have become, the EMS recertification process will vary considerably depending on the type of certification. It is, however, important for EMS professionals to stay well versed on the various protocols and latest developments in medical practices.

EMS is a physically demanding profession that requires tremendous focus and knowledge in a variety of different medical and traumatic emergencies. It also requires individuals to make good decisions under pressure in a fast-paced environment.

[Related Article: Overcoming Teamwork Obstacles in Emergency Medical Services]

EMS recertification helps keep professionals versed in a variety of patient care issues – especially for 911 cases that they rarely see. For example, EMTs and paramedics may not respond frequently to young patients with crush syndrome or patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), but must recognize the signs and symptoms of such serious issues. Their primary way of relearning about these conditions and finding out about newly discovered ones is through the EMS recertification process. EMTs and paramedics must be proficient in vast amounts of emergency knowledge, regardless of how often they may encounter certain cases.

While there are many safety reasons for EMTs and paramedics to go through recertification, it is also an important process on an agency level. Agency protocols change often and by requiring all personnel to undergo the same training, an agency can ensure it has adequately communicated every change to all its employees. It is also a way to incorporate training when an area experiences a growing trend in medical emergencies. For example, many rural areas are experiencing dramatic growth in heroin overdoses that require specialized medical treatment. Training EMTs to identify and treat these increasingly common emergencies can ensure proper medical care is being delivered.

While the EMS recertification process may seem time-consuming and burdensome, it is vital to building and maintaining the skillsets of employees and ensuring top-quality medical care is being delivered by the agency.

About the Author: Allison G. S. Knox is on the faculty at American Military University. An emergency medical technician and a political scientist, Allison’s research interests are comprised of federalism and emergency management/emergency medical services policy issues. Prior to teaching, Allison worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. She holds Master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies and International Relations and History, as well as a graduate certificate in Homeland Security. She is working on her doctorate in Public Administration and Policy at Virginia Tech. Allison currently serves as the chapter sponsor and faculty adviser for the West Virginia Iota Chapter of Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society, and also serves as the Chancellor of the Southeast Region on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society. She advocates annually for issues affecting emergency medical services.

 

 

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