The AfJEM blog
I caught up with David Stanton who will be presenting a keynote at the Emergency Care Society of South Africa's annual meeting in October 2017. David is the chair of the Resuscitation Council of Southern Africa, the head of Clinical Leadership at Netcare 911 and the national Co-coordinator of ITLS (SA).
I asked David a few questions about his upcoming keynote.
What are the key messages of your talk?
Just like the Dodo, the EMS Dinosaur is becoming a thing of the past. Many of us will remember studying under them, and they were not all bad (beatings with pacing sticks excluded – although I fear that knowing what a pacing stick is will tend to move me towards the prehistoric realms myself…). The face of the industry is changing, and we had better work towards understanding what this entails. The workers’ needs are different, and if the new generation of leaders aren’t careful, they won’t even recognise their future staff. My talk will have a look at what changes are happening, and some solutions to assist the few remaining dinosaurs.
Why is this an important message?
From clawing my expensive “pupil torch” from my short course hands, to establishing just what exactly an ECA animal is, the talk will explore why we desperately need strong leadership. This message is important now as internal struggles (again) seek to divide the industry. EMS leaders need to step forward and provide guidance through these interesting times. Leaders who are almost always too young, too unprepared and yet by far amongst the most experienced to be found. EMS also is at the risk of alienating itself from its in-hospital cousins, and the profession needs to be guided away from potentially harmful behaviour.
How does this message relate to African emergency care?
EMS in Africa is not the refined and technological being that is witnessed in the movies. The challenges and changes that are happening in the EMS are a reflection of the discordance of the continent that it serves. From running some of the most medically invasive, advanced paramedic programmes to placing these graduates in settings where they have to ration their bandages, our challenges are unique, and we are again in need of finding local solutions to local problems. Our cultures are many and mingled, and no first-world approach will deliver a widely accepted nor functioning settlement.