NEMSMA urges use of term ‘paramedicine’

The US-based National EMS Management Association (NEMSMA) has issued a new position paper promoting common language in the field of pre-hospital medicine. NEMSMA is advocating that the term ‘paramedicine’ be used to describe the discipline of pre-hospital medicine (historically called EMS in the US) and that the term ‘paramedic’ become the standard reference to all individual providers.

For nearly half of a century, said NEMSMA, US ambulance services and providers alike have used a variety of names to describe themselves and the work they do. A statement published by The National EMS Advisory Council in December 2016 cited 37 terms in use to describe this field of health care, noted the Association.

Among other points, NEMSMA’s paper asserts that this plethora of terms has perpetuated confusion amongst members of the general public, the media, law makers and insurance providers. The organisation states: “There is no common appreciation of the expertise and breadth of services provided by the paramedicine industry and paramedic providers today. The organisation states: “There is no common appreciation of the expertise and breadth of services provided by the paramedicine industry and paramedic providers today. Additionally members of our own profession sometimes get caught up in protection of our various merit badges titles. This is all inside baseball and means little or nothing to the public we serve nor the politicians who regulate us.”

NEMSMA added that it is not the first to highlight the issue: “Our international colleagues in other English-speaking Countries have lead the way. Providers in Australia, the UK, and our Canadian neighbours all call providers of pre-hospital medicine paramedics. We will serve ourselves and our profession best by uniting under one flag. The flag of paramedicine.”

NEMSMA said that its position is intended to generate a national dialogue about the issue leading to positive change.

Read the full position paper here.

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