Joann Freel is the Executive Director of the National Association of EMS Educators (NAEMSE). NAEMSE is a member-focused association of EMS educators whose core mission is to inspire educational excellence.
Freel began her career at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, as the curriculum and clinical coordinator. “I became involved in emergency medicine [there] because emergency medicine was a tack for medical students under my supervision,” Freel says. “I found the field of emergency medicine so interesting and varied that I stayed to listen to the lectures.”
When Freel started down the career path that lead to NAEMSE, emergency medicine was under the department of internal medicine. “Since then, it’s become its own department and sub-specialty.” Freel lists the medical doctors she came to know and admire: Drs. Paul Peppe, Paul Paris, Ron Stewart, Vince Massesso, and Kathy Rinnert. “They were all amazing doctors as well as educators.”
Before there was ever a NAEMSE, Freel worked at the Center for Emergency Medicine. “NAEMSE and NAEMSP (National Association of Emergency Medicine Physicians) were both formed at the center in Pittsburgh to fill the need of educators and physicians.” Freel was recruited by Dr. Paris to establish NAEMSE as a non-profit on a nation basis for all educators of EMS.
“I wasn’t sure exactly what NAEMSE would be like at first,” Freel admits. “But I did know there was a great need for educators to come together to share resources and share ideas on education.”
“NAEMSE provides many resources to the field of EMS,” says Freel, including the following:
- National documents such as the first National Guidelines for EMS Educators and the National Emergency Medical Services Standards
- Produced research projects such as the State of EMS Education, the super project Simulation Use in Paramedic Education, and white papers such as Simulation in EMS Education: Charting the Future; the Value of Continuing Education and the Support of Accredited Paramedic Programs
- The members-only portion of the NAEMSE website provides resources like The Trading Post, an electronic library where thousands of images, lectures, Power Points, and classroom resources are available
As with any position, being director of a national organization has its challenges and perks. “The most challenging part of my job is introducing EMS educators to the value of NAEMSE,” Freel says. Freel seeks to personally meet educators who attend the NAEMSE instructor courses; she makes the rounds at the annual symposium; and she makes calls to members throughout the year. Freel adds, “I use social media like Facebook and LinkedIn to communicate with members and nonmembers.”
The challenges are worth overcoming, Freel says. “The best part of my job is working with NAEMSE members who contribute every day to their community and profession in a selfless way. They are my heroes!”
Thank you, Joann, for taking some time out of your busy schedule to speak with us at Pocket Nurse. We hope this #EMSWeek has been filled with more perks than challenges, and we recognize all the hard work you do for EMS providers and educators all year long. The 23rd NAEMSE Annual Educator Symposium is August 31-September 5, 2018 in Washington D.C. Learn more here.