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Care, knowledge, and professionalism: the many faces of paramedicine

Paramedic Services Week is taking place across Canada from May 22 to 28. This year, we honour and recognize paramedics and the vital role they play in B.C.’s health-care system each and every day.
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Each day, paramedics respond to patients with 9-1-1 medical emergencies, and patients who need urgent transfer between hospitals and health-care facilities all across British Columbia. Whether by ground, air or water, these skilled professionals connect patients with the right care. 

Meanwhile, community paramedics also help deliver primary care in rural and remote B.C., in partnership with the province’s health authorities through the Community Paramedicine program.

BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) is incredibly proud of the work our paramedics do. The care, knowledge, and professionalism they bring to the job and their patients is remarkable. The kindness and empathy they express to their patients help them feel safe and calm in their time of need and maintaining this compassion is admirable.

We acknowledge the many hardships paramedics have experienced during the past few years and the sacrifices they have made, and we celebrate their resilience in continuing to deliver exceptional patient care. 

We caught up with members from our paramedicine teams to share their thoughts for Paramedic Services Week from May 22 to 28.

Anneke Fidler: Community paramedic and unit chief – Winlaw Station
anneke-fidler-1.jpgWhat do you enjoy most about your work?
What I like most about being a paramedic is the opportunity for growth and personal development. In my seven years with the service, I have learned that my true passion is teaching others and passing on the knowledge I have gained through various courses and experiences. I also teach part-time for Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) and Primary Care Paramedic (PCP) courses with one of the leading paramedic schools in B.C. and have seen some wonderful people grow into amazing paramedics in this area.​

How can the public help you do your job?

Get involved! When we put on community events or education it’s so great to see people come out and learn with us. From CPR/AED training to overdose awareness to recognizing stroke symptoms, there is so much the public can learn that can help us when responding to critical events. We all live, work and play here together, and we all want to see our friends, neighbours and loved ones receive the best care they can when it’s needed most, and it all starts with public education and involvement.

What is your most memorable moment?

In August 2018, we threw an open house to celebrate the addition of seven new employees to the Winlaw station – the most it had seen in a long time. Four of them are still working in Winlaw, and two have moved to nearby stations. I am privileged to work with these amazing people every day and proud of every one of them. (Shout-out to my original 427 crew, you know who you are!)

Charmane Learning, Damien Mc Ateer and Ashley Jacklin: Advanced Care Paramedics – Richmond and Burnaby Stations

What do you enjoy most about your work?charmane-damien-ashley.jpg

Charmane (left): From an educational perspective, what I appreciate is seeing my colleagues find their “aha” moments and being to translate that into the best patient care. It’s awesome to see our profession grow into a collaborative patient care advocacy group.
Damien (centre): Every day is an adventure because no two calls are ever alike. 
Ashley (right): Getting to meet all sorts of interesting people from various walks of life and provide support to them when they need it the most.

Andrea Minato: Primary Care Paramedic – Prince Rupert Station

andrea-minato.jpgWhat do you enjoy most about your work?

I’ve only been on the job for three months, but the transition between the classroom to the street has been seamless. I’m looking forward to my new career as a paramedic.

Stephen Shipman: Critical Care Paramedic - Vancouver Airport Station

What do you enjoy most about your work?stephen-1.jpg
The best part of my paramedic career and journey is that it is always changing and you are always learning. Every single day brings about new and different challenges. This is what keeps it fresh and exciting. 

stephen-2.jpgWhat is your most memorable moment?

I have been a paramedic since April 24, 1996. My most memorable experience over my 26 years has been my daughters joining me for my Critical Care Paramedic graduation ceremony in December 2017.

Kelly Budway: Primary Care Paramedic and Unit Chief - Pemberton Station

What do you enjoy most about your work?kelly-budway.jpg
I’ve worked as a paramedic since 2011 and the best part about this job is the people I meet: the colleagues who become family, the other services that have my back and the patients who welcome me in their most vulnerable moments.

Christina Basarab: Primary Care Paramedic - Galiano Island Station (left, with her mom and Unit Chief, Joy Wilson)

christina-joy.jpgWhat do you enjoy most about your work?
My favourite thing about my job (other than helping people in my community) is the fact that it has opened up the door for lifelong learning. I love that there is always more you can learn and things are constantly changing. 

How can the public help you do your job?

I think the public can best help all paramedics do their job by having a better understanding of what it is we do. We aren't taking you to the hospital so you can see a doctor right away, you still get triaged by the hospital. And please pull over! 

What is your most memorable moment?

My most memorable experiences have been being out in the public and getting to showing off the ambulance. It is so amazing getting to see the kids looking around for the first time and helping them be more comfortable in the ambulance if they or their family members ever need to call 9-1-1.

Christopher Ramirez: Primary Care Paramedic – Vancouver Downtown Eastside Station

What do you enjoy most about your work? christopher.jpg
The best part about working in the Downtown Eastside is that it’s not always a medical emergency. Sometimes people just want to talk; sometimes they just want socks, snacks or a blanket, and you can do that part – I love it when I can do that.

Sam Radons: Primary Care Paramedic and Unit Chief – Prince Rupert

What is your most memorable moment?
I’ve been a paramedic for 15 years, and the most memorable moment of my career so far was being stopped on the street by a cardiac arrest survivor whom I’d help resuscitate just three weeks prior.

Thank you to paramedics across B.C.
Please join us in recognizing our paramedics from May 22 to 28. Send a message of thanks to someone who has made a difference in your life or the life of someone you love. A small gesture of appreciation can go a long way after years of intense, often stressful work on the front lines. 

Follow BCEHS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram next week for stories of paramedics doing incredible work across the province.
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