EMS Education Tips

Question: EMTs Not Willing to Do CE

Do you know some EMTs only complete the minimum required CE?

When I reapply every two year I usually have way more than the minimum required CE hours. In some categories I often have double the required hours. One person, me, does not make a focus group, but nonetheless I was puzzled when I received this note from a colleague at a medical advocacy organization has designed a continuing education program for EMTs and Paramedics. The national organization and its regional groups are working hard to distribute the program. The letter …

“Greg, I am having trouble marketing our continuing education program to EMS organizations. I am being told EMTs are not intending to take the training because they pay up front for two years of Continuing Education access, and once they get all the credits they need they are not willing to do any extra lessons, even if its free until it’s time to “re-certify”.

Have you ever heard of this thought-process for some EMS professionals?  They pay for their own, do however many lessons they need to all at once for the credits they need, and then forgo any extra opportunities for education, even if free? Obviously, there are exceptions who will recognize the usefulness of the content and do it anyway.  I am mostly just curious of your professional opinion and feedback.”

To recap:

  • Free continuing education developed by experts
  • Available for EMS professionals
  • Topic is about a frequently encountered medical problem

My Opinion

The thought process of “I have enough CE and refuse to take any additional CE” does not belong to “EMS professionals.” That attitude belongs to a small (hopefully) subset of EMS providers. Not professionals. To me it is shameful to put out your hand and say, “nope I am done learning until March 31, 2012. Until then I know everything I will need to know.”

Do you encounter this attitude? How can it be overcome?

My Feedback

EMS continuing education programs, especially if they go above and beyond the minimum required knowledge, will rarely succeed if marketed to individuals. Unfortunately far too many of EMS providers wait until they are told or required to do something. The marketing efforts need to be to the chief or training officer that can mandate completion of the CE lesson.

What did you learn about recently without being assigned or mandated to learn? Share those links and resources in the comments.

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.