I just found this interesting post by a good friend of mine, Chris Kaiser, over at the Life Under the Lights blog. He takes issue with the signage on the side of an ambulance that says:
Staffed by Nurses!
He says that this belittles the training and expertise of the paramedics who would staff this unit if nurses weren’t there and in essence that nurses don’t have the skills to get the job done.
Chris Doesn’t Hate Nurses
To be fair, Chris isn’t mad at us nurses, he’s mad at the ambulance company manager who doesn’t think a paramedic can do the job.
The root of this issue is the lack of respect that this sign shows the EMS community.
Nursing is always listed among the most respected professions. People trust their nurses. They trust them more than they trust their doctors and way more than they trust their firefighter/EMT/paramedic types.
Why is this the case?
Respect and Trust are Earned
Is this because EMTs and paramedics don’t deserve the respect? Absolutely not!
Nurses, however, have worked very hard to shape the way their profession is perceived over the last 100 years. In the U.S. nurses have a national minimum standard for practice in the RN NCLEX exam. Every RN student must take and pass this test before they can put RN after their name.
Nurses have a single unified voice in the American Nurses Association (ANA) who coordinates the various accrediting bodies and provides a platform for nursing care at the national level. Some countries like Australia have a national cabinet level position for nursing leadership.
Could you imagine the “Paramedic General” of the U.S.? It’s absurd.
The EMS profession (such as it is) is fractured by many different system models and standards of care that doesn’t follow any standardized model in all 50 states. There is no representative body that effectively promotes the unified goals of the industry (heck, there aren’t any industry goals).
Congratulations to Nurses Everywhere!
No, this isn’t a backhanded slap at the EMS community. Most of you know that I’m a paramedic as well as a nurse.
This is a congratulatory golf clap for the nursing profession and the leaders who, years ago, molded our profession into what it is today. Today we are the type of profession that when you load your grandma in the back of the ambulance with “Staffed with Nurses” on the side, you feel a little bit better about her care.