Expanding Our Reach

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the history of the EMS profession at my fingertips, having spent that time in an office filled to the brim with the EMS World Magazine archives. (That’s 390 issues if you’re counting.) My mission: to select covers for our 40th anniversary section in the January 2012 issue.

For an editor, thumbing through back issues is like visiting old friends. Articles you forgot you wrote awaken your memories, photos that evoked strong emotions years ago touch you all over again. Editors are also like mothers; we have our favorites. For me, the article I am most proud to have produced was the May 1998 cover report Expanded-Scope Practice: EMS at the Crossroads of Care, authored by Colorado educator Denis Meade. Back in the day, expanded-scope practice (ESP) was a hot topic of discussion in EMS, a precursor to the current model of community paramedicine. It was exciting to present ESP as the next step in the EMS continuum of care, as it promised to save thousands, while providing patients with essential services.

Fast-forward to today and you can sense the same excitement when you talk to EMS providers involved in developing community paramedic (CP) programs. “The options and potential use of CPs are limited only by the creativity of the EMS provider and healthcare organizations in a community,” wrote Scott Tomek in his recent EMSWorld.com editoral Is Community Paramedicine the Next Step for EMS?

Community paramedicine is a viable career path for paramedics and one that also promises to maximize our ever-shrinking healthcare dollars. Over the next few months we will profile a CP program in Boise, ID, from inception to implementation, as we continue our commitment to provide mission-critical information for the next 40 years!