Who are paramedics?

27 May Who are paramedics?

When paramedics tell people their profession, they inevitably get one of two answers: “That’s so cool!” or “I could never do your job.” In further discussion, paramedics often find that their role is not clear in the public’s mind. Perhaps the solution is for us to think about the question differently, and instead of stating our profession, we can explain who we ARE.


We are emergency responders.   We ensure that when you or your loved one calls for medical assistance, that someone will be there to help.  We spend our days and nights, weekends and holidays, attached to a radio/pager/cell phone awaiting notification that you need us. We may be found in response carts, off road response vehicles, emergency response units, special response vehicles, ambulances, planes, helicopters, or on bicycles. We come to you, no matter what time it is, no matter what the weather is like and no matter where you are or why you’ve called.  We have the knowledge, skills, and equipment to provide assessment and treatment, support and compassion, extrication and transportation.

We are medical professionals.  We spend years in post-secondary education to prepare for our careers. We continue to train and learn throughout our careers, advancing our knowledge, skills and abilities.  Each year, we validate our expertise and confirm our techniques in front of medical oversight and our peers.  We attend medical rounds, participate in seminars, conferences, and Continuing Medical Education (CME)  and read relevant journals and studies, in order to improve our knowledge and practice.  We teach and mentor students and new Paramedics in our service, to pass on our knowledge and advice, guide future practice and support our future peers.

We are patient advocates.  We want you to know we are asking questions to ensure we know everything about you and your illness, your injury or your pain.  We want to know what your experiencing, so we know what we can do to make it better.  We will do whatever we can to assist you, alleviate your pain, ease your worries.  We will try to explain what is happening, why it is happening, and what we are going to do to fix it.  We will talk to the nurses and doctors and ensure that your story gets heard and that your concerns are addressed. We can also assist in finding you help in your own home, with any support or assistance when you need it, through many of our partners in the community.

We are trusted professionals.  We know that we may see you on your worst day, and we want you to trust that we will not only treat you with the highest quality medical care, but with the utmost compassion and respect.  We will tell you the truth, explain our actions and be kind to your family.  We will try and address your concerns, we will include you and your family in our decisions, and we will always ensure that we act with the utmost integrity and professionalism.

We are clinical researchers. We want our profession to grow and expand to provide the most informed, effective and innovative medical care to our patients.  We want to ask questions and find answers to make the system better, enhance our care, and improve your experience. We want to invent new methods, discover new equipment, explore new solutions, and continually review and improve the quality of service we provide.  We want to be involved in directing our profession into the future, supporting each other through changes, and ensuring that you, our patient, are always put first.

We are community supporters.  We choose to work not only in our communities, but for our communities.  You’ll see us at community and family fundraisers, education forums and fairs, special events, malls, housing complexes and schools.  We want to share our knowledge, help prevent injury and illness, promote healthy lifestyles, and help our community grow and thrive.  We volunteer our time to give back, collecting food and toys, requesting donations, organizing golf tournaments or other fundraisers for our community and local charities.

We are passionate leaders. Whether it is within our service, across our profession or out in our community, we are bold and engaging leaders.  We provide expertise, vision and strategic planning, to further enhance our service and help our community.  We strive for personal and professional development and pledge to continue learning from our mistakes, assessing and resolving system issues, and focusing on progressive improvement. We work together, as a team, with a shared vision of excellence in service. We are the voice of our profession, the voice of our patients and the voice of our community.

We are family. We are your brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, fathers, mothers, neighbours, and friends.  We may miss special celebrations, birthdays and holidays, but you are never far from our thoughts and always in our hearts. Our passionate commitment to our patients and our profession is because we consider ourselves lucky to be in a position to help people every day. We celebrate all of our successes and we lean on each other through the hard times. We know being a Paramedic isn’t easy, but we know that together, we can accomplish anything.