Is Experience Really Necessary for Paramedic School?

That’s this week’s clinical topic on the Inside EMS podcast.

Co-host Chris Cebollero says street experience is the glue that binds all the disparate knowledge and skills together to make a competent paramedic.

I’ve written about this before. Go read that, and come back.

I say experience is one of the most overrated buzzwords in EMS. It’s arbitrary and random, and no substitute for a good education. I’ve said it so often, it has become a Kelly’ism, but it’s true: “There are a few medics with 20 years of experience. There are many more with 1 year of experience, repeated 20 times.”

And as long as EMS educational programs expect “the streets” and some partner with unquantifiable skills and teaching ability to complete the job that should have been largely completed in class, we’re going to continue to produce medics who still practice like it’s their first year, twenty years later.

Experience is important. But not nearly as important as most people think, and when compared to attitude and education, it’s a distant third. Recruit the right people, and fix the deficiencies in our educational process, and experience becomes something like heated seats in a work truck: nice to have, but by no means necessary.

Go listen to the podcast, and give us your thoughts.