National Registry Project Trip Report

My relief comes in two hours early so I can get to the airport — I am headed the Ohio to serve on a committee for the National Registry looking into paramedics competencies — whatever that means. I will soon find out.

The flight is on time, but the plane is small and rattles when the landing gear drops. I catch the shuttle to a Marriot Hotel and have a steak dinner and two beers and then head back to my room to watch SAVED. (More about the show in a later post).

I’m supposed to meet someone from the registry in the lobby at 8:30 the next morning.


They have selected nine field medics from across the country with various experiences and from various types of services to spend two days with a facilitator from Ohio State to do a duty/task analysis of what paramedics do to help develop a curriculm and tests based on the real world. I am the representative from the Northeast region. There are people from Georgia, Missouri, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Idaho, Texas, New Mexico and California ranging from one year experience to fourteen — all of them have been nominated either by a state director, company president, EMS panel or medical control authority.

Our work will just be the begining of a long process that will eventually create a definition of what paramedics do, what our core competencies are, and what should be taught and tested to produce competent medics who the public can trust.

We are to complete a breakdown of duties and tasks that will later be further broken down into job steps. Our work will be reviewed by 1000 other paramedics selected from the registry’s lists, and then gone over by a panel of EMS experts from the registry’s board.

A Duty is a cluster of related ideas. A Task is specific units of work. Steps are what enable you to perform the task. An example of a job, duty, task, step would be as follows:

Job: Homeowner
Duty: Maintain the yard
Task: Mow the lawn
Step: Start the Mower.

Anyway, we start out by making a comprehensive list of things we do, going around the table until we are exhausted — everything from check the oil on the truck to defibrillate to provide grief counseling. The lists are then hung on the wall and left there. Next we try to come up with the Duty List. I think we end up with 12 or 14. I didn’t write them down by they were something like this: Maintain Response Readiness, Access the Incident, Scene Management, Perform Assesment, Provide Emotional Support, Manage Cardiac Care, Respiratory care, etc, Resolve the Incident, Legal Documentation, Operations Support, Community Relations, Professional Development. Then we had to take each duty and break it down into tasks. We got through two of the duties, and then called it a day.

They took us on a tour of the National Registry Building, which was quite nice, and gave us a little talk on what the Registry was up to as far as moving to online application and renewals, as well as some of their research projects, including one almost finished that shows EMS professionals suffer from sleep deprivation to a degree unlike any other recorded profession. One of the questions was something like “Have you ever gone to a friend’s house to visit and fallen asleep on the couch?”

At night we went out to a great steak restaurant and had a wonderful dinner with cold beers and got to know each other better. I was very impressed with the other medics, as well as the people at the Registry.

Back at the hotel, I turned on the wanning minutes of the All-Star game and like a typical sleep deprived EMS professional fell asleep with the TV on in the middle of the American League’s rally.


Back to work in the morning. We moved a little quicker, completing the task lists, and then compiling lists of general knowledge and skills needed for the job, worker behaviors, tools, equipment, supplies and materials, and future trends and concerns. In the end, the faciltator said he was very impressed by the array of work we did. We had 169 seperate identified tasks. He said generally each task equates to $1,000 of income, so we should be making $169,000 a year based on our responsibilities.

All and all it was an interesting process. I tried to emphasize pain management, research, and “people care” as important or needed aspects of our job, along with capnography as an important new technology. As I said before, I don’t know how this will all turn out — our role was just getting the process started.

I flew home, landed safely and after a day off, will be back at work.

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