STAY ON TOP OF YOUR GAME
The time has come for EMS managers to be certified
By Vincent D. Robbins, FACHE, FACPE
Until 2016, the EMS profession (now becoming known as the field of para- medicine) was one of the only segments of the healthcare industry that didn’t
provide a comprehensive method of certification for its managers according to a set
national standard of knowledge and skill sets.
We had no way of objectively knowing who
was qualified to supervise, manage or lead an
EMS agency. We didn’t test prospective managers or credential them in any meaningful
and equitable way.
Often, the best clinician was promoted
within an organization, even though medical
practice competence isn’t a valid indicator of
managerial capability. We had no other way
to judge an individual’s abilities to manage.
The national EMS Agenda for the Future,
published in 1996 by the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), recognized the lack of formal educational curric-ula focused on EMS management.
In 2008, the National EMS Management
Association (NEMSMA) spoke for the industry when it published Emergency Medical Services Management and Leadership Development
in America: An agenda for the future.
NEMSMA recognized the absence of
industry-wide examination or credentialing
mechanisms that validated a comprehensive
set of competencies in the theory and practice
of our profession’s management.
NEMSMA determined that a program was
needed to identify and standardize the attributes and skills individuals need in order to be
EMS officers, including a process to test and
validate an individual’s competence in supervising, managing and leading EMS organizations.
In 2014, NEMSMA published the Seven
Pillars of National EMS Officer Competencies.
This document was the product of collabo-
ration among a broad representative group
of national EMS experts and association
members, representing all delivery models
and segments of service. Over 10 years, they
received extensive input from all participants,
which was incorporated into the final product.
Competencies were developed for the
entire EMS community, regardless of service model (e.g., volunteer, career or combined staffing), system (e.g., rural or urban)
or organization (e.g., private company, gov-ernment-based or non-profit).
TESTING & CREDENTIALING
With the competencies established and
published to the industry, NEMSMA then
embarked upon developing a way to test individuals and verify their competence.
The well-known company Avesta, which
specializes in EMS staff recruitment, assessment and promotional testing, was retained to
design and scientifically validate credentialing
exams for all three levels of officer.
NEMSMA also established the American
College of Paramedic Executives (ACPE),
formerly named the EMS Officers’ Credentialing Commission, to act as the official authority responsible for overseeing the
competencies, testing and credentialing processes on a national level.
NEMSMA, through the ACPE, has
become the only entity to certify all levels of
EMS officers through a comprehensive competencies and validation testing process. At the
Pinnacle EMS leadership and management
conference in July, NEMSMA introduced the
first national EMS officers assessment and
certification program last year with its inaugural examination for Supervising Officers.
The first dozen individuals in the country
successfully completed the application process, submitted required prerequisite documentation regarding eligibility, and passed
the validation written test in June of last year.
They have now been awarded the NEMSMA
Supervising Officer Certification.
The Managing Officer’s credentialing
examination was first held at Pinnacle this
year and included both a written test seg-
ment and oral boards. This test will now be
available regularly, along with the Supervi-
sor test, at national, state and regional con-
ferences throughout the country.
Throughout 2017, the association will have
additional testing opportunities for EMS
supervisors and manager officers, most notably
at EMS Today, the Pinnacle EMS leadership
conference and EMS World Expo. NEMSMA
will be offering testing for executive officers,
the next EMS officer level, in 2018.
NEMSMA has also created preparation
courses for individuals to help them understand the format and style of the examinations,
which include a review of the competencies.
These courses are available independent
of testing and may be taken any time before
a candidate chooses to register for an exam.
They’re routinely offered in advance of testing opportunities at the same national and
state conferences hosting examinations. JEMS
Vincent D. Robbins, FACHE, FACPE, is the pres-
ident and CEO of MONOC, New Jersey’s single
largest ALS and mobile integrated healthcare
service. He’s also presi-
dent of the National
EMS Management Association.
Learn more from Vincent Robbins at
the EMS Today Conference, Feb. 21–23,
in Charlotte, N.C. EMS Today.com
To read more about the NEMSMA EMS Officer
Competencies and Credentialing program,
go to www.nemsma.org/index.php/
competencies/introduction. To apply for
testing or register for a preparation course,
go to http://nemsma.candidatecare.jobs.
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