Emergency Medical Service Facility Managers

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Since the founding of the Red Cross in 1863, emergency personnel have responded to emergencies, catastrophes and disasters with increasing efficiency. Nearly every town is equipped with a 911 service, a fleet of ambulances and possibly a helipad where vital organs are shipped in for transplants. Emergency Medical Service is a part of the healthcare industry that is vital to the well-being of communities who have been stricken by an illness, medical condition or injury. The technicians who deliver emergency care, their equipment and organizational structure must all be maintained by a manager, often a healthcare professional who holds a degree in healthcare management.

Where Emergency Managers Work

Emergency medical service facility managers are found in a range of environments and provide a wide array of services. Here are some of the places they may work:

  • Hospitals
  • City and state governments
  • Public safety offices
  • Homeland security agencies such as FEMA

Though their job duties might have a specific scope and focus, all emergency services manager must help their organization prepare for all types of situations. Whether that is in an ER that responds to immediate individual emergencies, or in a governmental capacity, where constant assessments of environmental and other threats must be prepared for, emergency medical facility managers must be prepared for the worst.

Is a healthcare management degree really necessary?

While many managers in emergency services rise up the ranks from their work as clinical providers, they will need a solid education to make the transition. In fact, EMTs who decide that they need a change of pace should start back to school for a healthcare management degree in order to successfully move from technician to management status.

A healthcare management degree will be helpful in a number of ways. First, it provides students with the universal vocabulary needed in healthcare management. It also broadens knowledge of the medical field in general. Students will also learn aspects of healthcare business such as accounting, marketing and inventory. The knowledge gained in a healthcare management program will be much like that in a business school, but it will be focused on timely and specific issues in healthcare.

Even if you are not currently an EMT or in the healthcare field, but are entering emergency medical service from another industry or straight from school, your degree will put you in good standing and show that you have the basic knowledge to work in entry-level roles in the healthcare management system.

Up the Ladder of Success

EMT and paramedic jobs are a great stepping stone to other medical and administrative careers, and the progression generally includes getting a bachelor’s degree and using your education to rise into management. Your degree will continue to serve you as your career progresses, and if you choose to manage an EMS facility or the emergency services department of a hospital, you could consider even getting a master’s degree. Once you have experience as an emergency services manager or EMS, you might move into hospital administration. If you are working for an independent emergency services company, you might work up into regional management, or help the company expand into new territory.

Healthcare Management Degree with EMS Focus

There are many degree variations on healthcare management credentials with a focus on emergency services, but you will find that the coursework you’ll be required to complete will cover the same topics. Here’s what you can expect to study:

  • EMS Planning and Development
  • Risk Management Practices
  • Operations and Personnel Management
  • Finance and Emergency Medical Service Systems
  • Leadership in EMS Systems
  • The Legal and Regulatory Environment
  • Community Risk reduction
  • Public Health Emergencies
  • Public Information and Community relations

Be sure to investigate accredited online institutions when researching programs. They can expedite your learning by enabling you to work the odd shifts of an EMT while also keeping up with your school work in off-hours. As you study, you are likely to interact with other healthcare professionals in other towns who bring unique experiences and perspectives to classroom discussions. These interactions may also provide networking opportunities in the future.

Other Degree Options

Students from other disciplines can enter the field of emergency medical services. For instance, a degree in general management can help provide a sturdy base. Knowledge of human resources, inventory management and even marketing can be helpful for emergency managers. Students will need to take classes that teach the specific terminology of healthcare and issues that are particular to emergency management offices. Without training focused on the specific needs of the EMTs and paramedics in the field, a hospital’s potential crisis, or how to respond to critical situations, a typical management student might not have the knowledge to handle an actual emergency.

A few other degrees that could be beneficial to entering the EMS facility management field include the following:

  • Public Health
  • Public Administration
  • Public Policy

With these degrees, you’ll have some of the management experience, as well as experience dealing with the public, which will be beneficial in a crisis, though it may be necessary to gain more experience in the field before entering into upper management roles.

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