Thursday, April 21, 2011
The Callaway County Ambulance District is adding two new positions in order to ensure its employees are better prepared to provide patient care.
During its regular meeting Tuesday night, the district’s board of directors approved the creation of an ambulance training officer position and a supplemental field training officer position.
CCAD Director Charlie Anderson said the ambulance training officer — who will be hired in a salary range of $15.41 to $21.46, the same as shift supervisors — will be responsible for all of the district’s internal training, supervising quality control and coordinating and teaching community education programs such as CPR and first aid.
“They will (also) be in charge of the district’s field training program, which ensures new employees we hire are adequately trained and ready for duty in the field,” Anderson said.
He said the ambulance district already has several employees who would be qualified for the job.
“I anticipate that position will be filled from within,” Anderson said.
He said the field training officer position would be filled by an EMT or paramedic who would be responsible — in addition to their other duties — for making sure new employees are properly oriented and trained. The job would pay an additional 50-cents per hour over the individual’s normal rate of pay when serving in that capacity.
Anderson said the decision to create these positions was generated from concerns by the employees themselves.
“With the field training position, we had at least two or three people we had hired recently and there had been concerns expressed by those folks that they didn’t feel adequately prepared,” he said.
Anderson said subsequent conversations with the employees who had been providing that orientation revealed that they agreed that it was inconsistent and would work better if there were a designated person to fulfill that role.
As for the ambulance training officer, Anderson said district officials had “discovered that we are not doing as good a job in making sure our staff is continuing education on skills and procedures and other things related to our field as they evolve as we would like.”
“We believe that by hiring a person that that’s their primary responsibility, that will get better,” he said, noting there are certain skills that the district can use to measure whether the new positions are having a positive impact on employee performance.
“We’re going to continue to evaluate that program and see if this is making a difference,” Anderson said. “If we determine that it’s not the right direction, we will certainly look at changing the direction if we need to.”
In other business, the board also voted to allow Anderson to sign an agreement with the Missouri Center for Patient Safety.
“Basically that will allow the district to submit information regarding medical errors and ambulance accidents, and that information then becomes protected under federal law,” Anderson said, noting this service currently is funded through a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health at no cost to the district.
He said another benefit of the program is that as other ambulance districts across the state join, Callaway can compare reports.
“If, say, a certain medicine is always being given in the wrong dosage, we can pull out data and say this has happened statewide 10 percent of the time and it’s happening here 50 percent of the time, so we can say we have a problem we need to fix,” Anderson said. “This could give us ideas on how to fix things, and in the end should make patient care a lot better.”