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Leadership & Expertise: Why Uniform Standards Matter in EMS

By: Adam Heinz, Director of the Clinical Communications Center


Recently, REMSA announced an updated uniform standardization policy for its clinical and field qualified leadership. You’re probably just about to click out of this article because uniform standardization policy sounds boring. But wait! Let me tell you why it’s not and why it might be meaningful for your EMS agency.

EMS is not typically a rank and file sort of industry – especially for those that are outside the fire and police service. This can lead to what feels like an identity crisis since EMS straddles the boundary between public safety and providing prehospital emergency care. In addition, many times leadership titles in EMS do not fully reflect the scope of ability and practice or the span of one’s authority. This can lead to confusion and reduce productivity and collaboration when EMS is working with health executives or public safety leaders.

Enter the fully-decorated uniform standards. REMSA has incorporated collar brass, a name tag and commendations into the update. The final element, perhaps the cornerstone of the new uniform look, is the badge. REMSA’s badge, cast in silver (paying tribute to Nevada as the Silver State) highlights our emergency medical services industry with the Star of Life at the top, prominently features our organization’s logo in the center and includes the Nevada state flag and the American flag.

All members of the leadership team from acting supervisors to chief positions, across the organization, are encouraged to regularly wear their full uniform. This consistent, specific look readily communicates (internally and externally) leadership, cohesion, and trust.

Realizing these uniform expectations are an updated approach to the typical EMS attire (especially for some of our veteran EMS providers), REMSA announced the standards with a badge and collar brass distribution ceremony as well as an illustrated document clearly communicating the appropriate measurements, alignments, and positioning of all of the elements.

The program is within a month of launch and feedback from field providers and other public safety and prehospital agencies has been positive. Members of REMSA’s management and leadership team are proud to display their collar brass and badge; it creates a culture of identity and accountability within the organization and pride and professionalism with our community partners and our patients.

Collar brass and a badge can represent a position of leadership and expertise; they also represent an EMS leader that provides lifesaving care, calming explanations and words of encouragement – all of which are a heavier weight than a 3.5-ounce silver badge.


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