POLL: Dispatchers – Supervisors Or Not Supervisors?

Today I’m crowdsourcing answers and opnions to this question:

Dispatchers – can what they do be considered supervising and therefore would you consider them a level of supervision over field staff? If so wouldn’t you then consider them Supervisors through job function although not through title?

Can Dispatchers, through job function and not by title, be considered Supervisors?

Yes, the function of a Dispatcher is to provide direction, guidance, and oversight to field staff

No, the function of the Dispatcher is simply to provide call information to units and funnel their needs to the appropriate resources, therefore there is no oversight

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My Case As To Why They Can Be Considered Supervisors

I argue that, although their title is Dispatcher, the role they play is more of a first line of oversight and/or supervision. I argue this mostly with people from outside the Emergency Medical Services (such as the fine folks in Human Resources) who do not actually understand what the function of a Dispatcher is. Allow me to explain why I see it that way by starting with the definition of Supervisor:


The definition of a Supervisor clearly defines them as someone who supervises workers or the work done by others. Now let’s look at the actual definition of supervises:


The word supervises clearly indicates that the activity includes directing workers to complete a task (ie assigning them a call), directs the work of someone (ie sending a unit to post or reassigning the unit), and the synonyms include both oversee and monitor (ie signal updates).

So since I’m on a definition kick, let’s look at the actual definition of Dispatcher:


The second definition specifically uses the work “oversees” which is a synonym for the definition of supervise and therefore, in essence and job function but not in title, I would argue that a dispatcher is a Supervisor figure to field staff. Keep in mind that they are for all intense purposes the command and control element for the resources at work. Although they are doing it from a remote location

Please let me know if you agree or disagree (and why) through voting above and/or in the comments below…

(…To Be Continued…)

Welcome To TheEMSLeader.com!

leadership conceptual compass

Welcome to TheEMSLeader.com!

The main focus of this blog is going to be sharing theory, ideas, and best practices when it comes to leadership for those specifically within the Emergency Medical Services. As with most of my blog projects, this is starting because I was looking for this sort of thing, but yet I couldn’t find it on the internet. The fire service has blogs such as Firehouse Zen and The Company Officer dedicated to leadership. Chris Cebollero has been hosting a great podcast called EMS Leadership, but sadly the search engines don’t index audio. Dale over at High Performance EMS writes about Leadership in EMS, he also covers other topics as well. I think leadership in the Emergency Medical Services deserves its own blog at the very least.

So in typical internet fashion, if you can’t find what your looking for, then you create it.

Our goal is to have at least one new post for you every Monday and Wednesday of the week beginning today, on September 4, 2013. Occasionally we may stray from that schedule with timely news we want to share, but the goal will always remain fresh content on Mondays and Wednesdays. Additionally we will also have a bi-weekly newsletter that will be delivered every other Thursday morning until we can get it up to pace with exclusive weekly content. You can sign up for the newsletter in the sidebar.

Finally, I don’t want this to be my blog. I want this to be our blog. If you’re an EMS Leader, titled so or not, and want to contribute to the development of others to help us develop further as a profession than I encourage you to submit your ideas on the Contributor Page and become part of the team.