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The Boo-Boo Bus: A Call to Action for Professionals in EMS

image of an older, hurse style ambulance. One of the first ambulances in the counrty

I may have said this before, but I just posted this in my EMS Management Class discussion forum and felt like it needs to be shared with more than that small group.

One of the things I absolutely detest is someone calling the ambulance a “boo-boo bus” or saying we are the “band-aid brigade” or anything that minimizes or dismisses the level of skill and knowledge required to be a Paramedic in 2024!

I’ve had the privilege of working alongside some of THE ORIGINAL paramedics in NC (which by the way are some of the first in the country). Talking with them they will tell you that they were so proud when they were able to give oxygen to patients, they said that they “thought [they] were doctors.”

When I first started working EMS in the early 1990’s we had bout 20 medications we could give and standing orders were almost non-existent. We had to call an MICN or MD for an order just to start an IV unless it was a cardiac arrest. And every patient was transported to the closest hospital regardless of their injuries or conditions.

Today, our drug formulary includes well over 100 medications in various forms. We seldom ever need to call for orders. We can paralyze someone and take control of their airway without consultation. And, we can drive by the closest facility with a unstable, critical patient to a facility where we bypass the emergency room and go straight to an awaiting PCI team that was activated by a PARAMEDIC who DIAGNOSED a STEMI.

It took our predecessors years of tribulations to go from “mother may I” and general hospitals to full on clinicians with receiving facilities launching full scale “Code Teams” with a single report from the Paramedic.

The “giants” of EMS have fought long and hard to establish us as professionals capable of providing the HIGHLY advanced level of care we do today. Paramedics and EMTs are NOT “ambulance drivers” anymore and we DANG SURE do WAY MORE than take care of “boo-boos.”

Calling it anything that minimizes or otherwise denigrates our profession and skill level is the equivalent of spitting in the face of all those “giants” that paved the way for us to be where we are today!

Be proud of where you are and what you can do and STOP denigrating your profession and skills. It’s time for YOU TO BE THE GIANTS FOR THE NEXT GENERATION!

“If I have seen further, it’s for standing on the shoulders of giants.” Sir Isaac Newton

“If you do not know history, then you do not know anything. You are a leaf that does not know it is part of a tree.” – Michael Crichton


L. Kelly Kirk, III, MSEd, NRP

President & CEO

911 e-Learning Solutions, LLC