The project came about in 2008, when NEMSMA identified EMS leadership and management as a "collective blind spot" for the industry.

EMS Association Moving Forward with Competency Agenda

Skip Kirkwood, 2011-12 president of the National EMS Management Association (NEMSMA), said the development of competency models for three levels of EMS officers is well under way.

Much work remains to be done, but the National EMS Management Association's EMS Leadership Agenda Project Committee is developing competency models for three levels of EMS officers that soon will be published, NEMSMA President Skip Kirkwood said Thursday. Kirkwood, chief of the Wake County EMS Division in North Carolina, said the documents might be done the year, but certainly by the end of his term in office. Kirkwood became president Jan. 1.

The project came about in 2008, when NEMSMA identified EMS leadership and management as a "collective blind spot" for the industry and created a three-step plan to fill the gaps. A November 2010 National EMS Officers Levels and Competencies Conference in Las Vegas was the first step, with step two being a training and education/curricula development phase, and step three being the development of a credential process for EMS officers. The three levels for which competency models are being developed are EMS supervisor (a shift or district supervisor), middle manager, and executive, who would be responsible for providing strategic and senior leadership within an EMS organization.

Kirkwood said the committee is currently working on what he called "step 1B" to complete what was started at the conference. The EMS Chiefs of Canada had developed their own more complex model that was shared at the conference. "As we worked through it, we had some new expertise, and we made it a bit more complicated," he explained. The committee will identify competencies and then put them into Bloom's taxonomy, which is a formal method of classifying learning objectives for students in a given profession or discipline.

The committee's chair is Mike Touchstone, chief of Philadelphia Fire Department's EMS Training Unit and director of its EMS Training Institute. NEMSMA said these organizations contributed to making the conference a success:

  • The National Association of EMTs
  • The International Association of Fire Chiefs EMS Section
  • The Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education Consortium
  • EMS Chiefs of Canada
  • The International Association of EMS Chiefs
  • The National Association of EMS Educators
  • The American Ambulance Association

Conference facilitator was Frank P. Mineo, Ph.D., EMT-P., an EMS educator and Paramedic Program director for the Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York City.

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