One of the trials for civilian EMS agencies is determining how military training and the experience that those medics possess correspond to the civilian state EMS requirements.
“The challenge is that there are multiple categories of military medics who do vastly different types of jobs. These could range from working as a combat medicine to that of a lab technician”, explained Professor Bill Young, EKU professor and formerly Director of Education with the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services. “There is no easy way to bridge them across into civilian practice without repeating some of what they already have been deemed competent in.”
The vast majority of military medics serving today are members of the Army. Commonly identified as 68 Whiskeys, these medics have recently been mandated by the military to maintain NREMT certification as an EMT. As a whole, 68 Whiskeys have considerably more training than do their civilian counterparts especially in areas such as trauma care. In addition, most of them have a significant amount of hands on, direct patient care involvement in providing for patients. On the other hand, these same medics could be deficient in some areas of medicine that have direct application to civilian medicine, primarily in the care of pediatric or geriatric patient.
EKU understands this and has direct influence regarding the removal of some of the obstacles that are blocking these men and women from transitioning into civilian practice. This year, the National Association of EMS Officials commissioned a study to look at the best practices of colleges and universities that had transition programs. Professor Young was named co-chair of that task force and Douglas Petch, EKU Department of Paramedicine graduate was selected as the principle investigator.
The results of that study will be presented at the National Association of EMS Educators annual Symposium August 6-9, 2015 in Nashville.