EMS Identity and Uniform Survey

VentMonkey

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I’m with Tank on this, though admittedly I’ve been known to wax poetic quite often as well.

As far as the uniform worn: our flight suits—in my personal opinion—are rather atrocious.

With that, if I as a provider can make what it is I am wearing such a non-factor with shear linguistic and clinical prowess, I don’t see (personally) why what I get paid to wear matters aside perhaps to appease my egocentric side.
 
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JSmith27

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Wasn't going to weigh in until I saw this....I know surgeons at the top of the medical "food chain" that agonize over the disrespect/under-appreciation they "feel". That is a problem in every industry at every level and though it is more or less legitimate in some than others, it comes from what is inside the body far more than what is on it. If the novelty of a new look and feel helps, that is fantastic. But ultimately it comes down to the individual and what he or she is able to reconcile with expectations of life....

Sorry for the philosophical hi jack....been on my mind lately...carry on...

Appreciate you weighing in E Tank. Love the discussion! If you feel the role of a uniform is insignificant, then there is nothing that I can say that will change your opinion. That isn't my goal anyhow. Our company was founded with a simple purpose: to help EMS...Based on 9+ months of discussions with EMS professionals, we felt a uniform & identity designed for medics by medics would help EMS - as a profession and industry. Maybe our product isn't right for you yet, but I would hope that you support our efforts. EMS needs more voices...more loud voices. Unless you're a Russian spy ;), then we're one the same team...
 
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JSmith27

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I’m with Tank on this, though admittedly I’ve been known to wax poetic quite often as well.

As far as the uniform worn: our flight suits—in my personal opinion—are rather atrocious.

With that, if I as a provider can make what it is I am wearing such a non-factor with shear linguistic and clinical prowess, I don’t see (personally) why what I get paid to wear matters aside perhaps to appease my egocentric side.

I am from Detroit...When the Lions went 0-16 and the Tigers set the record for most losses in a year, I bet every one of those millionaires would have loved to have been wearing a different uniform...:) Just FYI...sarcasm and joking never type well, so I am writing this with a smile.
 

VentMonkey

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I am from Detroit...When the Lions went 0-16 and the Tigers set the record for most losses in a year, I bet every one of those millionaires would have loved to have been wearing a different uniform...:) Just FYI...sarcasm and joking never type well, so I am writing this with a smile.
Lol, no harm, no foul. Still, if the service had top notch cutting-edge EBM protocols, solid management, clinical and con-ed opportunities, top offed with a solid retirement I hardly see how the uniform would be a deal breaker for myself and a lot of the more clinically-inclined providers.

There is a divide within EMS, and the outliers are all almost entirely focused on the care that they can provide over the way they wear the uniform.

Then again, many of the services that are sought out by such “agents of change” have worked long and hard to offer damn near close to “total package” deals with few, if any deal breakers. We’re talking unicorns in a sea of zebras, and typically unicorns stick out like a needle in a haystack, right?
 
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JSmith27

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Lol, no harm, no foul. Still, if the service had top notch cutting-edge EBM protocols, solid management, clinical and con-ed opportunities, top offed with a solid retirement I hardly see how the uniform would be a deal breaker for myself and a lot of the more clinically-inclined providers.

There is a divide within EMS, and the outliers are all almost entirely focused on the care that they can provide over the way they wear the uniform.

Then again, many of the services that are sought out by such “agents of change” have worked long and hard to offer damn near close to “total package” deals with few, if any deal breakers. We’re talking unicorns in a sea of zebras, and typically unicorns stick out like a needle in a haystack, right?

I'm a simple man Vent....so I don't want to make this more complicated that it is :). A uniform is not a total solution....Is it a factor though? Does it reflect mindset, pride, personality? Does it impact performance and safety? A majority of your peers we've talked with have stated the current generic, outdated, and uncomfortable uniforms: hinder performance, decrease safety, negatively impact professional identity and recognition. Also, the most common phrases I hear when talking to medics about EMS as an industry are 'we're used to it', 'it is what it is', 'we're the forgotten ones'...Pretty low bar if you ask me....All we want to do is raise this.....Again, love the discussion!
 

akflightmedic

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I respect your passion and your intent. Speaking of low bars, being the forgotten ones, etc....what if, just maybe, but what if we increased education and entry standards to the profession? Would some of that change then make us better overall? If we did that first, would a recognizable uniform or desire for one soon follow? Wouldn't people desire to be noticed at that stage...part of a positive change?
 

KnightRider

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I respect your passion and your intent. Speaking of low bars, being the forgotten ones, etc....what if, just maybe, but what if we increased education and entry standards to the profession? Would some of that change then make us better overall? If we did that first, would a recognizable uniform or desire for one soon follow? Wouldn't people desire to be noticed at that stage...part of a positive change?

Like what? Everyone being a medic??
 

akflightmedic

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No, not at all. If you read, you will see I stated increase entry standards to the profession. Go read these forums, tons of discussions on the topic.
 
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JSmith27

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I respect your passion and your intent. Speaking of low bars, being the forgotten ones, etc....what if, just maybe, but what if we increased education and entry standards to the profession? Would some of that change then make us better overall? If we did that first, would a recognizable uniform or desire for one soon follow? Wouldn't people desire to be noticed at that stage...part of a positive change?

Interesting question...Maybe chicken and egg. The feedback I have heard is that recruiting and retention is the single largest problem within EMS currently - just getting and keeping enough bodies. If this is the case, then raising the bar may further escalate this? On the other hand, what would the impact be if little kids grew up wanting to be medics for Halloween just like they do police and fire? Would this support a greater pipeline of recruits, increase awareness, promote recognition, and help the industry raise the bar more quickly than it currently can?

We strive to make medics safer, we strive to better enable peak performance, but we also strive to give EMS its 'Superman Cape'....Would love your support in our efforts!
 

akflightmedic

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Recruiting...not so much. Retention...somewhat, but for many reasons other than a single identity.

Raising the bar lowers supply initially, which increases demand, which increases respect/awareness/recruiting/retention/etc. This is a very basic premise, tried and true by other professions....EMS is dragging its feet and focusing on wrong area often.
 
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JSmith27

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That assumes that people have a clear understanding where the bar is today to be able to recognize and appreciate that the bar has been raised....Do you believe most of the public (incl. many who EMS relies on for support, funding, etc.) has a clear understanding of the full role and responsibilities of EMTs let alone Paramedics?

Just to play devil's advocate if a clear identity doesn't exist, how can I have a clear understanding of what you do? If I don't have a clear understanding of what you do, how can I fully appreciate what you do? If I don't fully understand and appreciate what you do, why would I place any greater value on it (reimbursements, funding, salaries, etc.)?

Again, we're on the same team here...Is a distinct uniform - that improves safety and enables higher performance - designed for medics by medics the total solution No. Is it a factor...We believe Yes. Love the discussion! It would be much better over a beer!
 
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DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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Recruiting...not so much. Retention...somewhat, but for many reasons other than a single identity.
I know many places that struggle with recruitment. They typically pay their people poorly (if at all, such as with volunteer agencies), have a lot of forced OT, and management treats their people like numbers. Most places I know of have 5-10 applicants for every spot they have posted. Now if you are talking about recruiting quality applicants, that's a different story.

And retention, yes, many EMS agencies have a retention issue, often for the same issues listed above.
Raising the bar lowers supply initially, which increases demand, which increases respect/awareness/recruiting/retention/etc. This is a very basic premise, tried and true by other professions....EMS is dragging its feet and focusing on wrong area often.
not to go off on too much of a tangent, but there are two reasons I think this is not the right thing do to. 1) there is no financial incentive to do this. salaries aren't higher for those with degrees, and paying something $10.50 an hour while mandating a 4 year degree causes a conflict with the laws of diminishing returns. You spend so much money on school, but don't make it back in the workforce. 2) is it needed? meaning, will mortality levels go down? can you correlate better patient care with higher education standards in healthcare? Are their any studies that back up this claim?

Increasing education is never a bad thing, however increasing education arbitrarily simply feeds the college/university system, while providing no other benefits other than it makes people feel good. Just like mandating BSN for all new hospital nurses, does it have any difference in patient outcomes compared to being treated by an ASN? or does it just make some lobbying group happy to say that all new hires have bachelors degrees? Then the argument becomes "well everyone has a bachelors degree, it's like the new high school diploma. it no longer makes you special or separates you from the pack. maybe we should push for a masters degree, that will make us more valuable, except we are doing the same job we were doing before bachelors degrees were mandatory."

While i agree that the current uniform shirts very from place to place, i don't know if any one type is the answer. you need to get buy in from the industry as a whole, which can be like herding cats. We have a hard enough time agreeing on what to have for lunch. Although I never could turn down a discussion over a beer....
 
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JSmith27

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a lot of good thoughts in here....above my head on most, so I'll leave it to you and AK to vet out :)!

Beer always makes the discussions and ideas better! Nobody knows if one 'type' of uniform is the answer for EMS either because nobody has tried...When was the last time 5.11, Blauer, etc. had this discussion? A similar model has proven effective in many other industries...and the only way to know is to try.

On a side note...I hope you all have followed us on Facebook! :)
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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So I met the OP for lunch today, and got to check out this product first hand. And even though his initial few posts were met with skepticism by as to his underlying cause, and while I still disagree that his product will solve our identity issue, I do think that it was nice to see a uniform shirt that was actually designed with EMS in mind.

The product appears to be a good choice for anyone who wants to go away from the class B button down shirts that are commonly used as uniforms. Looking at it in person, it's like a tactical polo shirt, where it has a lot of nice features that aid in its functionality. moisture wicking, wrinkle free material, and stain resistant fabric are all features that made me think that it would be a good choice for an EMS shirt.

And his company actually did the research on what it's limits were, which makes me think that, while he is trying to sell his product, he is actually willing to invest the time and money to see how it can best be used in EMS.

If I was still working for a service that was looking to upgrade it's standard uniform from a button down to a better shirt, I'd be passing along this company's info. actually, I still have some friends who are working EMS full time, and I just might do that. anything to get away from the old collared button down shirts.
 
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JSmith27

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Appreciate the review DrParasite! Sincerity is hard to express through such a forum, so appreciate your time and support! What does 'OP' mean by the way?

Anyone else in the NC area want to connect live, please let me know. Otherwise can jump on a call to answer any questions.

Our success will be dependent on you all spreading our mission and word...Any support would be greatly appreciated!
 
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