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Education Advocacy

     The National Association of EMS Educators (NAEMSE) provides a voice for EMS educators and has a diverse membership comprised of volunteer, part-time or full-time EMS instructors. We work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, fire departments, rescue services, law enforcement agencies, industrial settings, academic and vocational environments, tribal, military and others. NAEMSE members have diverse academic backgrounds, ranging from high school graduates to PhDs. Many hold certifications and licenses in nursing, allied health, medicine or other career fields in addition to EMS. Membership is not limited to classroom instructors, but includes preceptors, training officers, program coordinators and directors, medical directors, state officials, managers and others who are interested in EMS education. We have members from many other countries, including Australia, Canada, Italy, Mexico and Trinidad.

     NAEMSE's mission is to inspire excellence in EMS education and lifelong learning by providing a variety of services to our profession and participating in EMS issues with an education focus. The Association has liaisons and relationships with all of the national EMS constituency groups and is constantly developing new relationships with others who share our mission.

     Our annual conference, the Symposium, continues to draw record-breaking attendance. In August 2009, the program will be held at Disney World in Orlando, where members and nonmembers alike will come together to network on educational issues.

     Many benefits come with membership in the Association, and a visit to the website ( contains information on them all. One of the most popular features is the Trading Post, which contains more than 1,000 photos, audio and video clips, classroom presentations, education forms and documents available for access by members.

The Education Standards Project

     The third portion of the Agenda for the Future, the Education Standards, is officially in the hands of the U.S. DOT NHTSA Office of EMS. This document and its companion, the Instructional Guidelines, were completed in cooperation with national stakeholders of the EMS community. The three review and comment periods afforded a grassroots opportunity for input as well, and the final version of the document truly reflects this collaborative effort. The National EMS Education Standards (the Standards) replace the NHTSA National Standard Curricula at all licensure levels. The Standards define the competencies, clinical behaviors, judgments and educational infrastructure that must be met by entry-level EMS personnel to meet practice guidelines defined in the National EMS Scope of Practice Model. Content and concepts defined in the National EMS Core Content are also integrated within the Standards. Members of the NAEMSE are proud to have led the process for developing the Education Standards and Instructional Guidelines.

     The National EMS Education Standards comprise four components:

  1. Competencies. These statements represent the minimum competencies required for entry-level personnel at each licensure level.
  2. Knowledge Required to Achieve Competency. This represents an elaboration of knowledge within each competency (when appropriate) that entry-level personnel must master in order to achieve competency.
  3. Clinical Behaviors/Judgments. This section describes the clinical behaviors and judgments essential for entry-level EMS personnel at each licensure level. Skills for each level are included in this section, as well as topics like therapeutic communication and cultural competency, professionalism and decision-making.
  4. Educational Infrastructure. Describes the support standards necessary for conducting EMS training programs at each licensure level. Included in this section are topics like educational environments, medical director oversight, hospital/clinical experience, field experience and course length.
Instructional Guidelines

     The Standards are broad to allow for incorporation of evidence-based changes within the profession as they influence practice and permit diverse presentation methods. The Instructional Guidelines (IG) are not part of the National EMS Education Standards, but are a companion document intended to provide guidance to instructors, regulators and publishers regarding the content that may be included within each area of the Standards, and to provide interim support as EMS instructors and programs transition from the NSC to the National EMS Education Standards. The IGs are not intended to be all-inclusive. It is understood that they will become outdated as research, technology and national organization guidelines dictate changes in patient assessment and care. The IGs do not comprise a curriculum and should not be adopted by states.

     For more information on the National Association of EMS Educators, please visit

     Angel Burba, MS, NREMT-P, NCEE, is president of the National Association of EMS Educators. She is also an associate professor and EMS program director at Howard Community College in Columbia, MD, and an author of The Paramedic, published in 2008 by McGraw-Hill.

     Debra Cason is associate professor and program director for Emergency Medicine Education at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She was project director for the National EMS Education Standards development.

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