Term of Award

Fall 2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


College of Education

Committee Chair

Daniel Chapman

Committee Member 1

John Weaver

Committee Member 2

Grigory Dmitiyev

Committee Member 3

Joseph Crosby

Committee Member 3 Email



In this work, I examine the failure of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to professionalize over the course of its existence as an occupation. I consider how popular culture has contributed to a conflicted identity between what the public sees and how EMS providers view themselves. I believe that EMS has been restrained from professionalization due to oppression by physicians in a manner consistent with how two other allied health professions, pharmacy, and physical therapy, once were. I explore the professionalization of these two occupations to identify similarities and differences that may provide insight into next steps needed by EMS providers to professionalize.

Joe Kincheloe explains how the shift in education of vocational workers from learning ‘how’ to learning ‘why’ might be perceived as insubordinate by dominant groups, which for EMS would include physicians. I have used critical theory as a method of self-reflection through speculative essay. I encourage EMS educators to employ a critical pedagogy through an enhanced curriculum that will propel students to ask more ‘why’ questions as they seek to join the interprofessional healthcare teams of today’s healthcare landscape. I propose that EMS as educated healthcare professionals can fill a gap that can lower healthcare costs, improve the quality of patient care and outcomes, as well as satisfy the patient’s needs more successfully in the home and community as opposed to other sites of care.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material