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“If we don’t find enough volunteers, we’re going to have to close. It will be a hardship for our community. I’m angry that we can’t find the resources we need.”
“It always feels like there’s a crunch to find volunteers, but they come through at the last-minute. I wish I didn’t have to worry about finding volunteers.”
Often non-profit organizations look to the corporate world for models of organization development and strategy. Yet non-profits are fundamentally different. While they have passion and vision, and deliver excellent service, the resources required differ from the business world. These resources may include charitable donations, grants, corporate sponsorships, and sometimes business revenues.
Non-profits rely on volunteers. Leading a team of volunteers is inherently different from leading paid employees. Volunteers commit their time, energy, money, and other resources because they want to make a difference, belong to a group with a common goal, and have pride in being a contributing member. Volunteers commit on their own terms. Leaders are the glue, attracting others to join and directing activities.
I have written a longer article about a 2-year study by Deloitte that looks at the characteristics of volunteers and suggests a list of questions that non-profit leaders can use to develop a strategy for leading and attracting volunteers. For more in-depth reading, I recommend Jim Collins’ monograph Good to Great for the Social Sectors and Baghai and Quigley’s As One: Individual Action and Collective Power.
There are encouraging statistics for those seeking to attract volunteers – from the overwhelming numbers of college students applying to Teach for America to the spontaneously organizing groups on the Internet such as the Linux users group, who jointly develop an operating system, and Wikipedia contributors. People envision helping their communities, learning new skills, and making a difference.
A community organizer is someone who uncovers [volunteers’] self-interest. They give [volunteers] an opportunity to work in their own self-interest and address problems in the community that they could not address by themselves.
– Jane Addams
We’ve been getting calls about the pre-tests and the post-tests in the last few weeks as transition classes have started across Kansas. The primary question is, “Where are the right answers?” The short answer is, “The answers are in the instructor manual.”
But, the right answers constantly change. When we developed the curriculum, the American Heart Association was recommending a 95% oxygen saturation. Now, with the 2010 guidelines, they are recommending 94% oxygen saturation.
As someone who is not an EMS provider, my hope is that the search for the right answer will not end with the transition. Perhaps the right answer isn’t an absolute, perfect answer. Perhaps the right answer is the one that comes when professional providers make decisions based on current best practices, based on the best research, based on hours and hours of practice, based on what is best for this patient in this time and location.
I hope that the stewardship of EMS continue beyond the next few years of transition. Stewardship will capture the power of being a steward, a guardian, a diligent caretaker, a person worthy of trust, a servant.
Update on January 11 – Region V notified us that enough persons have signed up for this event. It will be offered. If you are interested in attending, please register at their site: Region V
Update on December 27 – Region V notified us this evening that only six (6) persons have signed up for this event as of today. The cut-off for registration is January 2. They will make a decision at that time based on the number signed up as to whether or not to offer this course. – end update.
If you were unable to attend a train-the-trainer for coordinators this fall due to facility space constraints or for personal reasons, Region V will be hosting an additional Kansas EMS Transition Train the Coordinator course.
Who: Persons – IC’s or TO’s – wishing to coordinate Emergency Medical Responder and Emergency Medical Technician transition courses
Date: January 29, 2011
Presented by: Friesen Group
Location: Johnson County Community College
At the December Board of EMS meeting in Topeka, during the Education Subcommittee meeting on Thursday, Chy Miller, Hutchinson Community College, presented two documents for consideration. One document is Educator Reference Abbreviations that meet the 2009 National Education Guidelines. The other is the new EMT initial course of instruction (Table of Contents for EMT initial course of instruction).
The Education Subcommittee recognized both of these documents as providing a sound foundation for building the new EMT initial course of instruction. The Subcommittee also granted conditional approval of the new EMT initial course, which Hutchinson Community College will offer in January. This paves the way for other educators to submit requests for conditional approval for new EMT Initial Courses.
The bags are being packed for our trip to Region I and the Oakley Train-the-Trainer weekend. We are looking forward to engaging with Instructor Coordinators and Training Officers who will be responsible for coordinating the courses in their local areas. We value opportunities to build relationships and exchange ideas as the transition process advances.
Here’s a Sunday afternoon status update from the curriculum development team:
- AEMT lesson plan draft is with the physician and peer reviewers.
- Media, Methods, and Activities development is in full gear.
- Task Analysis is on final approach (99.9% complete).
- Evaluation checklist development is launched.
In short, all of the pieces of the transition curriculum are progressing. And, we are “keeping our eye on the ball” ….
Quote for the day:
He who has a hundred miles to walk
should reckon ninety as half the journey.
An update to let interested parties know that we are forging ahead:
The EMR and EMT bridge courses are in the hands of our physician and peer reviewers for review and recommendations. We have begun revisions of both courses based on initial feedback from reviewers. Media and activity development is underway.
The first draft of the AEMT bridge course is rapidly moving toward completion. It will be sent for physician and peer review within the next two weeks.
We encourage people to continue to download scope documents and begin reviewing supporting material in preparation for instructing and participating in the transition.
I close this post with a quote from physicist, author, and systems thinker, Poul Anderson, “I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when looked at in the right way, did not become still more complicated.”
In the interest of looking at all perspectives, I have been reflecting on the need for balance between passion and indifference. In organizations, managers spend time and energy seeking to motivate people to passion for their work. But, with too much passion managers can roll over people and miss important cues indicating risk or simply other options – including better ones. With too much indifference managers can become lethargic and stagnate.
As dialogue, debate, and discussion continue around various EMS Transition questions, I was thinking about a post on Bob Sutton’s blog where he talks about the need for strong opinions, weakly held. The argument originated with persons from the Institute for the Future.
It starts by stating that we each need to have strong opinions. When we care passionately about something, we are willing to put our energy and time into learning about it, understanding it, and defending it. But the argument doesn’t stop there. The rest of the argument is that we need to hold our strong opinions loosely. If we’re too attached to our opinions, we lose the ability to hear and see other evidence and alternative ideas.
I close this post with a quote from Sutton, “Wisdom is the courage to act on your knowledge and the humility to doubt what you know.”
It’s Kathleen’s turn to write today:
I moved to Kansas about 7 years ago. And, for the last several months I have traveled across the state. Along with seeing amazing scenery (everyone should have to exit the I’s: I-70, I-35, I-135), it was my first time to meet with many EMS providers. The providers I met care passionately about:
- Providing excellent health care to the people in their communities.
- Building professional EMS services that continuously improve the care provided.
- Relationships with their families, providers on their service, and communities.
These core values speak to me of people who are loving and compassionate. The day-to-day commitment of EMS providers across the state is amazing. It makes me proud to be a Kansan.
As I look at the opportunities for expanded and improved care offered by the new scope, I’m excited to think of the service possibilities — possibilites that offer life changing care to citizens. I’m excited to think about Kansas being at the head of the line for implementing the new national scope of practice. But most of all, I’m want to know that when I travel across the state in the coming years, I can count on receiving quality, up-to-date care should my family or I ever need it — care made possible by implementing the new scope — care that can make a difference!
I hope that the 2010-2013 transition is another successful event in the proud traditions of the Great State of Kansas!