What is a Paramedic?
Paramedics are licenced healthcare professionals capable of assessing the needs of patients and providing medical treatment in emergent and non-emergent situations. Paramedics provide care to patients in out-of-hospital, inter-hospital and community settings.
Although the vast majority of paramedics that you see in Manitoba work in ground ambulances, paramedics also work in air ambulance helicopters and aircraft, on fire department vehicles, in communication centres as emergency medical dispatchers, within communities in collaboration with other healthcare providers and in other specialized positions.
Although the titles vary slightly from province to province, Canada has three classifications of paramedics; Primary Care, Advanced Care and Critical Care.
A paramedic in Manitoba is licenced as either a Primary Care Paramedic (PCP) or an Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP).
A Primary Care Paramedic can:
- provide basic life support
- stabilize wounds and fractures
- start an IV
- administer medications such as ASA, nitroglycerin, ventolin and epinephrine
- initiate cardiac monitoring.
Advanced Care Paramedics are further educated to:
- provide advanced life support
- interpret cardiac rhythms and certain diagnostic test results
- undertake advanced respiratory and cardiac care procedures
- administer several additional medications.
In addition to these licencing classifications, Manitoba recognizes a certification level known as an Intermediate Care Paramedic (ICP). This certification enables PCPs to practice additional medical functions including cardioversion, cardiac pacing and administration of additional medications with the appropriate education and delegation.
Our emergency medical services (EMS) system also relies on licenced Emergency Medical Responders (EMRs) who work primarily with volunteer community and fire-based first response services. First responders are trained to provide advanced first aid, basic airway and breathing assistance, conduct CPR and automated defibrillation and assist patients with their personal medications before the paramedics arrive.