At one of the organizations I work with it is required that you have a Driver’s License from the state in which you reside. This is in accordance with the motor vehicle laws of the areas that the organization operates in. While each state has a different statue of limitation (ie New Jersey considers 60 days in state as residency, New York considers 90 days in state as residency) the intent is the same, to have state issued identification where you actually reside.
During the online application process, one of the qualifying questions asked is quite literally “Do you have a driver’s license from the state in which you reside?” Those that answer Yes are qualified and moved along in the process, and those that answer No are not qualified and notified as such.
Surprisingly (or perhaps not so) there are a number of people who answered Yes to the question and list their residency in one state, but arrive at the interview with a license from another. This can happen for a few reasons. Usually its because either insurance costs are cheaper in the state where they have their license, their license in the state was suspended or revoked so they had to go out of state for a new one, or its pure laziness.
No matter the reason it’s both in violation of the law and, considering their answer in the application process, ultimately a lie and therefore is a sign of unethical behavior.
Recently there was another training scandal in Baltimore, Maryland. TOTWTYTR shared his thoughts here and Hybrid Medic shared his thoughts here. I share the same thoughts and feelings as both TOTWTYTR and Russell, so I feel no need to rehash them.
I do want to point out that this apparent lack of ethics is not necessarily bred within the service. This type of behavior can infiltrate our profession because it has become relatively acceptable in our society to be doing these types of things.
We don’t have robots to warn us of the dangers regarding unethical conduct, and in an ideal world we shouldn’t need them. What we do have are educators who, due to time and budget constraints, often breeze over the issue. I don’t necessarily agree that EMS education should make up for the lack of basic education provided in the nation’s educational system, but then their screening process needs to become more stringent. When job candidates display unethical attitudes and behaviors before becoming part of an organization, it reflects poorly on the educational institution they come from.
While the candidates are turned away from the organization even before an interview based on the contradiction in the information provided on the application and the documents actually presented, the fact is they still have EMT cards and in all likelihood no better understanding of the problem with their actions. It’s entirely probable that another organization will not take issue with it, and they will work in our profession while continuing with their unethical behavior with them. At that point, its only a matter of time before they do something unethical in the profession.
Something like saying they attended a CME they never did, and for that we have no one to blame but ourselves.