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Standing up for paramedic practice

01 September 2012
Volume 2 · Issue 3

This comment piece will deal with the challenges facing the safety and wellbeing of paramedics and emergency medical service (EMS) professionals in Canada. The article shall briefly touch upon the antecedents and social history of paramedic practice from historic to present times. In this commentary, the author raises several challenges facing the profession in the 21st century. Fortunately, they are all ‘fixable’ challenges, provided that researchers, decision-makers and practitioners begin to work together to make the right investments and make things happen.

As a social scientist by training, it is apparent to the author that pre-hospital/disaster medicine has sometimes been a largely invisible discipline, one that no doubt has a corporate culture and customs that are quietly rooted in the uniformed services of the past.

On a positive note, innovations in paramedic curricula, technology and scholarship bode well for the advancement and professionalisation of emergency medical services as an important public safety discipline. Yet, despite increasing public recognition, particularly in the popular media, there are a number of nasty, if not persistent, challenges facing first receiver professionals in the 21st century.

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