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Supervision, Coaching, and Mentorship in Fire-Based EMS

Thursday, April 27
Supervision, mentorship, and professional coaching are all distinct, important leadership and management tools. In fact, mentorship and professional coaching are the fastest growing fields in the area of leadership studies. Supervision, informal mentorships, and coaching are common interactions between fire officers and firefighters/EMS providers, but their potential remains unrealized in the field. The role of fire officers and EMS managers in the field environment is often ill-defined, and fire officers normally receive little formal leadership education specific to EMS operations. The interaction between fire officers and field paramedics in fire-based EMS agencies often creates responsibility-authority mismatches. This occurs because the authority of the fire officer comes into conflict with the patient care responsibilities of the field firefighter paramedic. Understanding and implementing supervision, coaching, and mentorship programs can bring improved performance, increased resilience, and naturally effective leadership succession to an EMS system. Also, the physicians interacting with EMS agencies should be integrated into the leadership and management processes in a meaningful and constructive way. Understanding the dynamics between these groups in the context of leadership theory may improve overall performance of EMS systems.'
William Ward, Director of EMS - Center Point (AL) Fire District