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What’s in a Name? EMS Stakeholders Discuss the Profession’s Nomenclature

NEMSAC recommendation for a change in nomenclature brings more than 20 EMS stakeholder groups together for a conversation about EMS terminology

The term “emergency medical services” and the associated titles of EMS clinicians is the topic of an ongoing discussion in the profession. In 2017, the National EMS Advisory Council (NEMSAC) approved an advisory entitled Changing the Nomenclature of Emergency Medical Services is Necessary. In this advisory, NEMSAC outlined its concerns about the number of terms used to describe EMS and its practitioners over the years, and how this can be extremely confusing for the general public, elected officials and members of the media, as well as within healthcare and public safety. The council also recommended specific terminology to describe the practice of EMS clinicians and recommended the creation of a single term to describe all certified EMS practitioners

In response to the advisory, NHTSA and the Health Resources and Services Administration (home of the EMS for Children program) brought together more than 20 EMS stakeholder organizations for a series of facilitated meetings to share their organizations’ and members’ views on the subject.

“Any change to the nomenclature used by EMS must come from within the profession,” says Jon Krohmer, MD, director of the NHTSA Office of EMS. “This effort is a chance to bring together representatives of the community for a thoughtful and open conversation on the terms we use to describe the work of EMS clinicians.”

You can view a full list of all organizations and groups involved by visiting the project page at Sign up there to receive updates on all NHTSA Office of EMS efforts, including this project.