Urban vs. Rural: Can We Just Stop the Pissing Match?

Urban Vs. Rural

The age old debate. Who does it better? From which service can you glean the most information and become the best version of the medic you strive to be? After much research and discussion, it appears we’ve been going about this debate the wrong way. In fact, most would concede that it’s much like comparing apples to oranges.

While there are pros and cons to each type of service, most discussions on the subject appear to be borne out of personal preference.  We’ve compiled a list of considerations for each type of service. Bear in mind, this list is not exhaustive and was accumulated after much dialogue with many providers of each type of service.

Pros for Urban EMS

  • Shorter response times
  • Resources (fire, police, specialized teams) more readily available
  • Familiarization with plethora of patient presentations that could aid in the recognition and treatment of other patients
  • Further opportunity for career advancement due to tiered leadership
  • Familiarity and use of majority of protocols as a whole in respect to frequency of diverse patient presentation

Pros for Rural EMS

  • Typically, a larger scope of practice is made available thanks to longer transport times
  • Because of increase in transport time, more interventions may be initiated and the provider may be able to actually see the interventions work for the patient while still in their care
  • Smaller services may be able to make capital purchases more quickly because fewer physical items are needed
  • Fewer employees with more down time results in closer relationships with coworkers and family-like atmosphere
  • Prolonged periods of time spent with patients requires great critical thinking skills and some creativity to optimize patient care

Each system has so many components, it’s impossible to list the many attributes of those respective providers. Along with that, negative perceptions aren’t always accurate. Lower call volume doesn’t necessarily mean less knowledge. Just as more patient contacts don’t equal a burnt out medic.

Without exception, these types of providers deserve commendation for the unique way they provide care to their patients. Though we all do the same job, it’s unfair to make comparisons when considering the exclusive points that make each type of service its own.

Keep in mind we are all responsible for our own knowledge and continuing education. Training varies from job to job. Some may be more stringent in certain areas or skills while others are lax. We should all push ourselves to maintain and continue building our proficiencies whether it’s a job requirement or not. When we focus on our own enlightenment, the other concerns seem less substantial.

At the end of the day, our focus cannot be on our own personal identity as providers, but on what we can do for our patients…

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