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Challenges and changes with COVID-19: Canadian paramedics' experiences

02 September 2022
Volume 12 · Issue 3



Healthcare systems, practitioners and communities have experienced momentous change and strain because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although paramedics are an essential component of the public health emergency response, the literature has focused primarily on the views of physicians, nurses and hospital administrators.


This research sought to improve the understanding of the lived experiences of paramedics throughout the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak.


The perspectives of paramedics were captured through an online survey consisting predominantly of open-ended questions.


Three main themes describing the experiences of paramedics arose: challenges with change management; changes in day-to-day operations; and implications for mental health.


This study has offered insights for future pandemic response in terms of information dissemination, practitioner involvement in policy and operational changes, and mental health and wellbeing support needs during and beyond a pandemic.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization (2020) on 11 March 2020, healthcare systems, practitioners and communities have experienced momentous change and strain.

While paramedicine is a relatively new profession, paramedics have become an essential component in the healthcare system for the public emergency response (Bigham et al, 2013).

However, studies have largely focused on the views of physicians, nurses and hospital administrators, rather than paramedic practitioners (Alwidyan et al, 2020). With existing literature in paramedicine solely addressing logistical planning, workforce availability, triage ethics and vaccination considerations, there was limited evidence surrounding the Canadian operational environment and paramedic services' capacity to develop and implement evidence-informed programmes while responding to a pandemic (Cavanagh et al, 2020).

Literature pertaining to paramedicine has emerged since the start of the pandemic related to intubation, handover at hospital and amendments to the scope of practice and practice recommendations in the context of COVID-19 (Boehringer et al, 2020; Buick et al, 2020; Nolan et al, 2020; Feldman et al, 2021).

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