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Addressing the EMS workforce shortage: How medical students can help bridge the gap

Nishant Uppal, BS, Suhas Gondi, BA

Abstract


The authors propose that, through innovative and mutually beneficial partnerships between medical schools and local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agencies, medical students can help mitigate EMS shortages in areas across the country. These partnerships, which we have seen very early signs of in some places, would create channels by which medical students get their emergency medical technician certifications in the summer before matriculating and volunteer with the agency’s ambulance service, either as an extracurricular clinical experience (which are very popular among medical students) or as a way to fulfill clinical or service requirements or earn elective credit. In the attached piece, the authors (1) establish, using data, that a key factor contributing to current and impending EMS shortages is a lack of certified personnel, and (2) propose why and how medical students could provide a novel source of additional volunteers for understaffed public ambulance services, explore some of the benefits and limitations of this proposal, and provide a road-map for how to form partnerships between medical schools and local EMS agencies.


Keywords


emergency medicine, higher education, medical education, EMS workforce shortage

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jem.2019.0436

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