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Education Agenda For The Future: A Systems Approach (2000)

Executive Summary

The Education Agenda is a vision for the future of EMS education, and a proposal for an improved structured system to educate the next generation of EMS professionals. The Education Agenda builds on broad concepts from the 1996 Agenda to create a vision for an education system that will result in improved efficiency for the national EMS education process. This system will enhance consistency in education quality and ultimately lead to greater entry level graduate competence.

The Education Agenda was developed by a task force representing the full range of professions involved in EMS education, including EMS administrators, physicians, regulators, educators, and providers. This document proposes an education system with five integrated primary components:

  • National EMS Core Content

  • National EMS Scope of Practice Model

  • National EMS Education Standards

  • National EMS Education Program Accreditation

  • National EMS Certification

The proposed system maximizes efficiency, consistency of instruction quality, and student competence by prescribing a high degree of structure, coordination, and interdependence among the five components.

Five Components

A key benefit of this systems approach will be an enhancement of the consistency of instructional quality achieved through an interaction among three system components, the National EMS Education Standards, National EMS Education Program Accreditation, and National EMS Certification. At the higher levels of education, this strategy for ensuring consistency allows the use of less prescriptive National EMS Education Standards in place of the current National Standard Curricula (NSC). With less dependence on a prescriptive NSC, instructors will have greater flexibility for targeting instruction to specific audiences, resulting in enhanced comprehension and improved student competence.

The Education Agenda describes an interdependent relationship among the five system components and recommends specific lead groups for development and revision responsibilities.

  • The National EMS Core Content is a comprehensive list of skills and knowledge needed for out-of-hospital emergency care. Specification of the Core Content is primarily a medical concern and will be led by the medical community, with input from the system regulators, educators, and providers.

  • The National EMS Scope of Practice Model divides the National EMS Core Content into levels of practice, defining minimum knowledge and skills for each level. Since this determination is fundamentally a system issue, the system regulators will have the lead in its development, with input from the other stakeholders.

  • The National EMS Education Standards take the place of the current National Standard Curricula, specifying minimum terminal learning objectives for each level of practice. Being basically an educational task, the development of the National EMS Education Standards will be led by educators, with input from other stakeholders.

  • National EMS Education Program Accreditation is applied to all nationally recognized provider levels and is universal. Accreditation is the major mechanism for verifying educational program quality for the protection of students and the public. Accreditation enhances the consistency of the evaluation of instructional quality.

  • National EMS Certification is available for all nationally recognized provider levels and is universal. Certification involves a standardized examination process and contributes to the protection of the public by ensuring the entry-level competence of EMS providers. In order to be eligible for National EMS Certification, a student must have graduated from an accredited program.

Administratively, the system proposed in the Education Agenda offers a number of benefits, including greater predictability for component development cycles and a clear and definite method for introducing changes to the system. These provisions will clarify the process for accommodating medical advances, technology development, and other needs that affect the scope or content of EMS education while following the recommendations of the 1996 Agenda.

To read the complete document click here.

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