Our second place essayist is Daniel Gackowski:
Blogging in EMS: Knowledge for Everyone, From Everywhere
Social media has brought a nation of independent EMS services and given them and their providers the opportunity to share and learn from each other in a way that was never before practical or possible.
As a new EMT in a rural volunteer fire department, I didn’t even realize what I didn’t know about the EMS community as a whole. I knew what I learned in EMT school and what I picked up responding to calls. However, after attending a national EMS conference and realizing the popularity and impact of podcasts and blogs, I realized there was a much larger picture than I had imagined previously.
I returned from that conference not really knowing what else was out there in the online world of EMS, but just that it was there somewhere. Soon, I was regularly following multiple EMS blogs and an EMS online forum. I realized that these inter-connected communities had far more information and experience to share than I could ever possibly get by remaining isolated in the traditional fire department and hospital service area that exists in the immediate vicinity around me.
Unrestrained by geographical limits, the world of social media can present theories, discussions, arguments, conflicts, and relevant issues in a way that would never be possible otherwise. While there’s no one that knows this small community like the hard-working and experienced members of the fire department where I have the good fortune to help, there is simply no good way to find out what’s happening in the world of EMS on a macroscopic scale while limited in the context of a small-town community volunteer fire department.
EMS-related blogs can show me what the topics of interest are in every area of the United States, whether urban, rural, or in between. I can use the subjects that professionals with years more experience than I have as stepping-off points to further my own EMS education. Things I wouldn’t have even known to study are presented in ways that I can read and then research on my own, with the unique personalities of each individual blogger interjected within. Additionally, I am able to be introduced to more advanced concepts that I might have never heard about otherwise. While attending the occasional higher-level continuing education lecture or overhearing medics work, I can pick up on ideas and vocabulary that would otherwise completely pass me by — all because someone I’ve never met happened to discuss it one day on his or her blog.
While social media certainly has its occasional downfalls when not used judiciously, it has provided a substantial outlet for EMS professionals to talk about their days and share their experiences. Online forums provide a way for people to anonymously release stress, and receive words of encouragement and support from someone they may never know personally, but that has been in the exact same position before in his or her own career. It opens up a vast library of potential for furthering one’s own education and knowledge base that never existed in such an accessible way previously. It could also prove to be the means of accumulating wide bodies of experience and input from innumerable people toward furthering the EMS profession as a whole.
Whether someone is an EMT student or has already served a career as a paramedic, the use of social media can have a significantly positive influence on the individual care provider, as well as the world of EMS in its entirety.
Congratulations, Daniel, on a fine essay, and we hope to see you at EMS World Expo!
Check back on Monday to read the winning essay!