More Than Just a Patch

Whether you completed the National Registry of EMTs’ pencil-and-paper written exam or the computer-based test, you proved you have what it takes to be an EMS professional.

The National Registry of EMTs celebrates 50 years of helping ensure EMS clinicians are ready today and preparing for tomorrow

The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians patch on your sleeve—you know, the one you earned last year, fi ve years ago, or 30 years ago? The one with the distinct colors, threads and star of life? That patch is more than just a patch: it rep-resents your experience, education, competence and commitment to the EMS profession. It is a reminder of your hard work and dedication, from your EMS education to your success with the National Registry exam; your commitment to further the profession; and your pledge to maintain currency and competency with the knowledge, skills and abilities needed as an EMS professional. The patch symbolizes your role in something bigger—a national EMS system.

“The National Registry has set a standard for EMS in our nation,” says Joseph Schmider, Texas’s state EMS director.“ When an individual holds a National Registry certification, you know what education standard they were educated to, you also know that the person demonstrated their abilities to successfully complete the examinations for their certification level.”

Wearing the National Registry patch signifies successful completion of an educational program aligned with national EMS standards. That education and your dedication to studying and participating in the classroom, labs and clinicals were the first steps in preparing you to become the EMS professional you aspired to be.

The patch also means that after completing the rigorous coursework, you successfully completed the National Registry’s examination process. State EMS offices rely on these examinations to help ensure competency of EMS professionals. Best practices within the testing and certification industry, such as computer adaptive testing, are utilized by the National Registry to help protect the public. Exam questions are evaluated and tested to ensure that only competent candidates pass. The National Registry has the expertise and resources to ensure that the EMS certification examinations adhere to testing and certification industry standards and align with current EMS practice. Whether you completed the former pencil-and-paper written examination or the more modern, computer-based examination, you demonstrated that you have the required knowledge to be an EMS professional. 

“The goal of the examinations team is to protect the public and to provide a fair and unbiased opportunity for each potential EMS provider to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities related to EMS practice,” says Greg Applegate, PhD, National Registry’s chief science officer. “We do this by following industry standards and involving EMS professionals in every aspect of the examinations program.”

But the exam was just the beginning of your commitment to preparing to help others. As a dedicated EMS professional, you remain devoted to life-long learning and keeping up to date with safe and effective EMS practices through the recertification process, known as the National Continued Competency Program. The National Registry patch is worn proudly by clinicians who take their training and education to the next level by maintaining certification and keeping up to date with ever-changing medical evidence, technology and standards.

You also play a role in making sure that the patch on your sleeve continues to stand for professional-ism and commitment to your patients for the next 50 years and beyond. Every time you complete a patient care report, the data collected is compiled in local and state databases and also in the National EMS Database. Those data are analyzed to deter-mine the frequency, nature and types of calls we as EMS professionals run across the country and trans-formed into information for research and for EMS systems analysis and ultimately improving patient care. These data points give insight into response times, patient outcomes, ambulance deployment and staffing, disaster or large-scale incident response—even the health and wellness of EMTs and paramedics. The data are also a major component of the National Registry’s practice analysis, during which hundreds of EMS experts help create a clear picture of the current practice of EMS professionals in order to ensure exams and continuing education matches the needs of clinicians, patients and communities.

Most important, your direct participation and feedback can help influence the future of the National Registry and its continued positive impact on the profession. For example, the National Registry examinations are written by you: active EMS providers, EMS medical directors, state EMS officials and EMS educators from across the United States. Your experience, stories and education ensure the patch represents everything it should—most notably, the protection of patients and the public.