Paramedics could soon take on bigger role in health care

Teresa Wright
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Matt Crossman, of Island EMS, said his organization is pitching several different models of care for paramedics.

Paramedics in P.E.I. could soon be performing triage in P.E.I. hospitals and administering treatment to seniors in nursing homes.

Preliminary discussions have begun between provincial health officials and Island EMS to look at broadening the role of paramedics in the P.E.I. health system and potentially allowing them to perform more health care treatment outside of ambulances.

Health Minister Doug Currie recently toured health facilities in Nova Scotia, including the QE II emergency room in Halifax where he witnessed paramedics performing triage and other duties in hospital.

He was excited by this as a potential avenue to address physician and nursing shortages plaguing P.E.I.’s health system.

“I think there’s a tremendous opportunity there,” Currie said in an interview.

Matt Crossman of Island EMS said his organization is pitching several different models of care for paramedics to Currie and Health P.E.I. that are being practised in other jurisdictions. These would see paramedics taking on a more enhanced role in treating patients.

One of the models they presented included the paramedic working in hospital, performing triage and such duties as casting and suturing.

Another model would see paramedics travelling to nursing homes and treating patients on site.

In Nova Scotia, this model has reduced the number of ambulance transports from nursing homes by 72 per cent.

“Those patients would have typically had to be taken to a facility, seen by a physician and transported back,” Crossman said.

“I don’t think people really realized we would be able to treat and release… There’s always been a sort of traditional model where (patients) have always seen the physician.”

He pointed out this change not only reduces strain on overcrowded waiting rooms and short-handed doctors and nursing staff. It also frees up ambulances at a time when ambulance usage is continuing to climb.

“We’ve been able to implement a really great program in Nova Scotia that’s been a big savings to the system, not just in ambulances but the health-care system,” Crossman said.

Both Currie and Crossman stressed discussions about any changes to the roles of P.E.I. paramedics are still very preliminary.

But Currie said government needs to look at new and innovative ways of providing health services if it is to remain sustainable into the future.

“On the other side of the Confederation Bridge, there are communities over there that are using models of various health professionals that provide various services and I think that it’s important for us to look at those models as part of the work we do to provide a quality health-care system,” Currie said.

Island EMS is now in the process of gathering data from other jurisdictions who offer enhanced paramedic services to find a model that could best fit P.E.I.’s health system. It will present these findings to government and to the various facility and system stakeholders.

Most paramedics are already trained to perform these enhanced medical treatments, but would be given a refresher course if any enhancements to their duties were made in P.E.I., Crossman added.

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Geographic location: P.E.I., Nova Scotia, Halifax

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  • citizen
    August 17, 2012 - 20:37

    I believe this discussion has gotten way out of hand, as I suspect the instigator of this article has hoped for. What it comes down to is patient care & patient safety, not which profession can do the job better. We are all at our wits end with the lack of family doctors and lack of access to quality health care here on PEI. As in other professions, health care workers are expected to do more with less, sadly there are human lives at stake. I know there are superb paramedics out there as well as RN's. Remember to value each other for what you do & work together. Don't let this article & some really ignorant comments tear you apart. We need you all to work together to help us when in need. Keep it all in perspective people: patient care, patient safety.

  • don
    August 17, 2012 - 18:26

    i think the nurses at the QEH is scared of being shown up by ems. they say they are trained in triage well ladies and one with a brain can do triage.

  • don
    August 17, 2012 - 18:22

    what a joike nurses you say that you are trained in triage wrell you all not to smart. what do you think ems does at a mva "triage" they do more for the patient then you do. if you are so good the i dare you to go out with ems and see what they do but we all know that it will be hard to fit most of your butts in an emsd rig from sitting in the hospital all the time. and if you are all so good why is qeh on devert so much? you spend devert more then any hospital in the maritimes. ems does more to help you then you will admit. maybe they should just bring in the patient as they find them full of blood,mud,etc and let you clean them up. so lets see how many of you will go out with ems ? put up or shut up.

  • Joe Blow
    August 17, 2012 - 12:45

    The bottom line here is that Ghiz and his band of merry idiots are trying to provide as little healthcare to people as possible!!! Thats his goal!! The money he can prevent from going towards healthcare will fit wonderfully into his pocket and the pockets of his friends and family. The first thing we need to do as Islanders is get rid of the arrogant politics and bring in compassionate politicians with good values and morals. Once we get rid of the MAIN problem (idiot Ghiz Liberals) then we will be able to fix our broken healthcare system here on PEI and we'll see more doctors, more nurses and more paramedics to provide proper care to Islanders who pay taxes for that care!!! Remove the root of the problem and the rest will begin to fix itself!!! As for the topic....there is no reason why paramedics can't provide care to patients that currently is not being provided. Nurses can whine and complain all they like, they need to check their arrogance at the door and work with the paramedics to make sure people get the care they are paying for through their hard earned tax dollars!!!

  • WOW
    August 16, 2012 - 21:43

    What a bunch of BS from the Paramedics and the RN’s really disgraceful. To the RN’s that have taking “allot” of triage training. How many people have sat in the ER waiting room and died due to not being triaged properly. RN’s have on a numerous occasions blundered in the ER. And frankly because of being over worked some of your bedside manners stink. As far as you missing special personal days with your families, well suck it up you picked your profession and get paid well for it. Paramedics miss this time as well.... not to mention the workers a Cavendish farms and the gas station attendants and guess what they do it for a quarter of what you do. RN’s Stop being jealous that Paramedics can make decisions on their own and not just follow orders giving by Dr’s. Stop trying to fear in the public into saving your Job. To the Paramedics... Going to school and coming out in 8 months does not qualify you for squat. You need experience. You cannot go from high school to GOD that fast. As you see your the assistant to your ACP Partner. Should the PCP’s be working in triage “NO” is the only answer. ACP’s with 5 years experience Yes sure they should. The ACP’s that go from PCP to ACP without experience should not be qualified as for the ER. You need to get your heads leveled and start realizing that just because you pass a glorified First Aid course you need experience. To the Government.... You should be ashamed... All that I can say is GOOD BYE. You have an Ambulance Service that’s is lacking. We have 8 Ambulances when we need 20 on most of the day and night. Response times of greater 15 mins on PEI come on get real. Leave our Paramedics to Pre hospital Care until we get an efficient service. Having alternative care providers in the hospitals was a great idea....except for the fact that your now getting rid of our RN’s what is wrong with you. With the extra alternative care providers the patients would have had great care and treatment but now your dropping the ball. Were not adding to the system your taking away. You want to spend millions of our dollars to make a straight road from Borden to Cornwall to make it safer, Hello did you look at our nice straight Westren Rd. How many deaths there . It proving even here on PEI if the roads are not so straight then driver don’t get as comfortable. Put our money in health care. GHIZ you should be charged with criminal negligence for the mess your making to our Island.

  • hollymolly
    August 16, 2012 - 16:10

    this has the potential to be a good program but i have to question why ? why is it needed ?why not hire nurses to do nursng ? and medics to to medic work ? as i see it we have a shortage of both on pei as shown in the above comments . so i say fill the positions with the professionals that are trained for the position

  • Paul Perry
    August 16, 2012 - 14:14

    I have been in the volunteer fire service for 25 years and have worked with the Medics for IEMS on many calls.They are very professional in all aspects of any situation that I have been with them,weather its dealing with other emergency agencies,patience's,or family members. I have nothing but high praise for our Island Paramedics keep it up.

  • Pair-a-medics
    August 16, 2012 - 11:20

    I think this is a perfect idea... This system has been implemented in Nova Scotia for quite some time now and I've only heard great things about it.. It keeps emerg trucks available and the lower acuity calls are taken on by the ECPs. When I worked in Halifax, Paramedics ran triage and the ECPs were in high demand and ran back to back calls. As far as people thinking medics are incapable of treat and release and that every patient must been seen by someone "of higher education".. The Dr. 's at the nursing homes are the ones who decide to call the ECPs, so obviously they have the confidence in a medics training. I hate how nurses and medics bump heads all the time! We do different jobs, where different skills are required and we are both qualified.. I personally have no desire to be a nurse, and im sure its likewise. As for the "years of training" bit, an advanced care paramedic(ACP) has at least 3 years of continuous, directly applicable training, where we dont take summers off or attend 2 or 3 classes a day, at holland college, you are inclass from 9-4 everyday of the week! The program is very difficult as well.. Usually a good chunk of your class doesnt even pass or realizes its not for them. Medics also face triage situations everyday! Going to the hospital code 1 vs code 2 is a triage decision, which hospital to go to is a triage decision and during a mass casualty situation.. A medic is in charge of triage... Hence, paramedics are quite capable of triaging patients and a monkey could assign a CTAS. So get over yourselves and don't argue things you know nothing about! Do a little research! Don't be so closed-minded, This is a good change for once!!

  • Sad
    August 16, 2012 - 11:16

    I find it sad that Islanders are always so resistant to change and growth. We are so far behind the times in EVERYTHING compared to the rest of Canada and the world, especially healthcare! At the end of the day, these new ideas and models of healthcare delivery on PEI are for better patient care. It has nothing to do with who get to do what and who is smarter than who and which credentials each person has. With proper training and COLLABORATION (it's a scary word, i know), we can be a leader in emergency healthcare across Canada and beyond. Set your pride aside folks and try to remember the true meaning of healthcare.

  • facts speak for themselves
    August 16, 2012 - 10:00

    PEI is a poor jurisdiction that can't afford to pay university-trained professionals such as teachers, RN's, doctors, engineers, etc. Instead they go for the community college trained technicians which command a far smaller salary (teacher assistants, LPNs, paramedics, engineering technicians, etc.) PEI will always be far behind other provinces. Anyone who goes to university should never expect to return to PEI and work in their chosen field. Just ain't gonna happen with the mindset of the current population and government in PEI. Like I said, a poor jurisdiction and a joke of a province if there ever was one. Go west, south, east or north, but not PEI folks.

  • ER Nurse
    August 16, 2012 - 07:17

    This whole discussion is bothersome. As an emergency room nurse myself, I am appalled at some comments. Once again, this has turned into a turf war and RNs are taking the brunt of it!! I work with paramedics every day. I evaluate their performance as students. I see some quite capable with life experience behind them and some who are beginning practitioners who need to get some of that experience. I would sincerely hope the more qualified paramedic will be on the trucks where they can make crucial decisions most effectively and independently. That means those with less experience are the ones deciding who gets care in the ER. Health care does need redesign, but where does that leave my role? I was unsure with the roll out of the Collaborative Model of Care and would feel the same way here. These models work elsewhere, but the PEI government puts them in place with little discussion with front line workers and often with many problems. They do not model from the success stories for whatever reason (cost savings??). I see people bashing RNs and it saddens me. I know how much extra time we, as nurses, take away from our families to treat the sick and injured of PEI. I know how much training we all attend to keep up to date and I know we all miss precious opportunities with our own to be there for strangers in our care. We do that above and beyond what our responsibilities are to assist in providing safe care to Islanders. Please remember that and be respectful of one another and the roles we are regulated to carry out in this province. After all, if RNs feel much more invalued, it will not help the shortage as some of us will head to other places where we feel more valued. Some of us are "surplus" anyway!! And that is not the fault of the paramedic or the LPN!!

  • Ss
    August 15, 2012 - 23:48

    I can't believe how Ems is being put down! They are the first point of contact to an injured patient upon a scene of an accident or at any point where a patient is injured. They come face to face with point of triaging a patient on each call! If they are called to an accident (for example) they are triaging and stabilizing a patient on site. They don't have an MD beside them telling them what to do. They are well trained to stabilize and treat on site on their own. We should be vtery thankful for our well trained Ems team that we have!! Stop bashing and look at this as a way of everyone working together as a team for our healthcare

  • should have kept rn program not bn program
    August 15, 2012 - 22:52

    I think one of the problems is the fact that there is no longer an rn program, just a bn program(degree). I, for one, am tired hearing about how the bn nurse spent $40,000 on their education and now they are at risk of losing their jobs. I think they maxed themselves out. The jobs that the bn's do (even in acute care) do not require a degree(unless it is an educator or manager position). Most of the bn nurses that I know do not want to do bedside nursing......most feel that they are over qualified for that...well somebody has to do it

  • peimedic
    August 15, 2012 - 22:22

    Perhaps all the nurses should return to school so they can become as highly qualified as our pei medics and then get a job. Stop bashing medics because you wasted 4yrs and $60,000 and now can't get a job. Join the rest of the people who come out of university with a degree and can't find a job on pei.

  • EB Nurse
    August 15, 2012 - 20:37

    I am a nurse, and I value my job and I can respect the challenges that are occuring around us. So important that we do not create another them vs us. We already lost alot of energy trying to defend turf with our other team mates the LPNs. We all work side by side and are all capable of so much, and know our boundaries. Instead of re inventing the wheel lets effectively use what we have. How about making people accountable in their positions....step 1. We need to remember we are seeking parnterships with GPs as NPs.

  • Elle Gee
    August 15, 2012 - 16:47

    I too am an RN on PEI. I keep hearing all of this "talk" from the government that PEI has a major nursing shortage. I can speak for myself and many of my coworkers at a city hospital that there is no RN shortage. There are RNs desperately seeking employment. Some RNs have developed over $60,000 in student loans and now face unemployment in their field. Scary times for nurses, and I completely understand their fears as our government tries to replace us with lower payscale professionals. As far as the EMS taking over triage duties - I am sure "some" would be quite capable .

  • Angela
    August 15, 2012 - 15:32

    As an RN who started out my career in the ER at the QEH I am disappointed to read the comments here making the issue about nurses not wanting to work with EMS in the emergency department. Nurses always have the patients health and safety as their main priority. Currently the nurses who work in the triage area need to have enough experience to be assigned to it. We don't just start working in the ER and immediately have that responsibility. The issue nurses have with this proposed new model of care is that EMS will not have the experience within that setting to provide the same care that nurses give who are currently in that role. We can't sit here and debate the skills of nurses compared to EMS. We have different roles and are given a different scope in which we are allowed to practice. I work with many of the ER nurses in northern Canada where we are able to work in an expanded role but when we return to work at home the hospitals do not allow us to use all of the skills that we are knowledgeable in. So just because EMS can perform certain skills in the field does not mean that they will be able to in the hospital. I think very highly of EMS but would not want their job, I can't imagine why they would want mine? Everybody in health care has a role. The biggest issue is that the government continues to take away roles of the RN and replace them with health professionals on a lower pay scale. Stop making this about the nurses complaining and start asking the government why they continue to only care about money and not the health and safety of the people.

    • just me
      August 15, 2012 - 16:22

      well said Angela !!

  • Concerned
    August 15, 2012 - 13:47

    My father was a patient in PCU a few months back, He received a call to go to the QE II and he required a certain level of paramedic to go. They had to wait for an ambulance to return to PEI because they can't have too many ambulances off Island. My father was supposed to be picked up around 4, then the pick up was delayed due to EMS being busy with 911 calls. Then we had to wait until after shift change. My family and the nursing staff in PCU were very concerned that dad was going to lose his bed at the QE II due to the delay. EMS finally arrived at 8:30 pm, 8 hours after the call was received that the QE II would take him. It was well after midnight before he arrived in Halifax. If the government is going through with this plan, they should ensure that there are enough paramedics to go around. Although the nursing staff did not say it, I'm quite sure people have lost their beds at the QE II due to lack of ambulances and paramedics.

  • Me
    August 15, 2012 - 12:03

    If you have no knowledge of health care then keep your comments to yourself.

    • PEI Medic
      August 15, 2012 - 12:58

      It blows my mind to think RN's in this Province can put down there fellow health care workers like they are. An ACP has a very large scope of practice. They are capable of running a code in full to the point of giving drugs with ROSC, intubating a patient, performing cardioversions, pacing and the list goes on. I know there are many nurses who feel threatened by this just as they were when the LPN scope was made larger. I have much respect for nurses, but I feel " some " believe they are the be all and end to health care. Times change, systems evolve !! perhaps it is time all health care providers come together as a team for the common goal, which is the best patient care that can be provided

  • just me
    August 15, 2012 - 11:32

    Paramedics skills would not be advantageous at the triage desk.... no one gets cardioverted or intubated or even an iv insertion at the triage area. That is for the resus / trauma area where very capable paramedics bring their patients by ambulance to the waiting very capable registered nurses.....

  • senior supporter
    August 15, 2012 - 11:09

    Well... I think on a senior level in community care or nursing and having hands on experience with the EMS regularly.. We have had the priviledge to have some of these EMS who are tained in these areas into our home and they were wonderful. Not all are trained sadly the same and it is very obvious by times but the ones who are and who seem to be out in the field a bit longer ( maturity wise) have come and assessed the situation and either transported or we were able to save a trip to the hospital. I personnally feel with our province becoming such an aging population we need to start looking at other option without jeopardizing others positions such as RNS. I think RNs would like some new challenges too so perhaps the government needs to reassess what there roles are as well and give them the opportunity to provide services they were trained in especially in the emergency departments. Also as for Nurse prectioners... AWESOME IDEA!!!!! they work great in the rural communities and do amazing jobs. I am all for new ideas but are we doing what best for our population and especially our seniors???

  • Just A Medic
    August 15, 2012 - 11:05

    I am glad that the Province of PEI is finally recognizing that Paramedics can perform in other roles besides just the ground ambulance. I am a little concerned at the fact that they are going to let Island EMS be in control of these roles as well. Island EMS is run by Medavie EMS which owns all the ambulance services in the Maritimes and part of Ontario. They also own the Paramedic training institutions in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. They have just recently acquired a company on PEI that teaches first aid and CPR and provides first aid coverage at public events. If the government lets them control the roles of Paramedics in emergency rooms, then Medavie has the complete monopoly and control of all Paramedics in the region and beyond in any role they may want to work in. In other words, if you want to work as a Paramedic in any type of role, you must work for Medavie. If you cannot get a job with Medavie, then you cannot work as a medic. I hope the PEI government, when it comes time to put medics in hospitals, makes them hospital positions and not just subsidize Island EMS to hire more medics to provide the coverage. Nurses work in all different roles and are hired by different employers. Lets make it the same for medics.

  • XComa
    August 15, 2012 - 10:53

    an after thought... I am not sure how you would accomplish this but: Hire more Humanitarians. You know, Practitioners that care about People more than the Pay Cheque... There are some practitioners out there that carry on like they Hate their Job. As a patient working with someone, a Doctor, Nurse or some other support staff, that seems to Hate their job is Terrible. There is no need to add mental suffering to a physical illness. Health Practitioners need to Check their Attitudes.

  • SG
    August 15, 2012 - 10:47

    I totally agree the Paramedics on PEI do a Great Job and I commend each and every one. In an Emergency Situation they are indeed a welcomed sight. Their Profession is certainly not an easy one for sure. However, I see this move as the beginning of a changed Health Care System that will have fewer Doctors, Nurses, Specialists and Services. Personally I don't see such a System as a Progressive move re: Health Care but rather a move that will be more economic re: Health Care Spending. Will this move mean a decrease for our Nurses, LPNs, Doctors, Specialists? We have a shortage re: these positions now. PEI has too many hospitals and clinics and not enough Doctors, Specialists, Nurses .

  • XComa
    August 15, 2012 - 10:41

    This change may be good... Perhaps people will suffer less waiting to get in to see a Doctor or waiting to get into Emergency Room or Clinic. As long they are properly trained. This will be great... The whole Health Care System (along with many other Government Departments) needs major Improvement. Health care as it is now is very inefficient.

  • re Trevor Leclerc
    August 15, 2012 - 10:37

    Trevor L...having had a sarcastic, incompetent Dr for a few years I could have easily lost my life.It was a nightmare.And something that scars a person, so I get what you are feeling.Sad to say incompetence is not just limited to any medical field. Others may not have been so fortunate. They are not above the ground to speak. So , sadly, the title Dr may not always mean any better . Hail to the good and caring ones and hiss to those who aren;t.

  • good luck
    August 15, 2012 - 10:27

    Paramedics can be as good and often better than an MD in our view. There may be some ego clashing come out of this . Good luck .

  • Wayne Proude
    August 15, 2012 - 10:23

    How can there be a shortage of nurses and the goverment is laying off rN's Where is the reasoning wit5h the situation they face.

  • Trevor Leclerc
    August 15, 2012 - 10:01

    I greet this news with great trepidation. I have much respect for EMS technicians but their training is geared to stabilize and transport, and cannot include much detailed knowledge that might be essential in triaging people with complex chronic conditons. (Personal experience: EMS tech arrogantly dismissing the possibility I was having a seizure because "you wouldn't be concious if you were having a seizure." (I often remain concious for them though not too coherent). He did not believe had anything to learn from someone only a bit older than he but who was living with the sequella of a catastrophic health condition. (Much easier to dismiss someone as drunk - though I do not drink at all.) So I can have limited confidence in EMS as diagnosticians out of concern for my safety and health. - since that incident I have learned EMS techs WILL check for a Medic Alert - but will NOT check for a medical information card if they have to try to access your wallet while you are on the ground. EMERGENCY medical services are for emergency situations - they are not qualified as much as nurses and should not be used as such. My father used to say "don't use a screwdriver as a chisel, and if you use a chisel as a screwdriver, you ruin the chisel. That incident with an EMS destroyed my trust and ruined that chisel for me. Use EMS techs only for what they are certified for - stabilize and transport. Thry are not medical practictioners without a LOT more training.

    • Travis Gordon
      August 15, 2012 - 12:09

      The notion that PCPs and ACPs are trained only to stabilize and transport is disgusting. Keep in mind who's running triage at an MCI: EMS. It's funny that you mention that EMS are to be used for EMERGENCY care. Where does triage take place, Trevor? The EMERGENCY room. PCPS, ICPs, and ACPs are highly trained healthcare providers and should be treated as such.

    • islanderinthehospitals
      August 15, 2012 - 18:36

      Paramedics are NOT allowed to search people's wallets. It is against practice to do so without verbal consent by the patient and done in front of the patient or a family member. Otherwise, any patient can blame a paramedic for stealing money/credit cards/ etc ... So to expect a paramedic to search you for your wallet then leaf through it is inviting people to put their jobs on the line by being accused of theft. This is why medic alert bracelets exist and why paramedics look for them. It is why the bracelets exist.

  • tiredgirl
    August 15, 2012 - 09:51

    This is an excellent idea, and has worked well in Halifax and other cities for years. Paramedicine has changed dramatically from the old "ambulance driver" days, and now it takes several years of specialized education and training to be able to become licensed. Students receive part of their training from doctors in the Emergency Room and Operating Room at the QEH, QEII and IWK already, and if they were incompetent in anyway, they would not be allowed to continue to practice or graduate. Triage is a preliminary part of EMS care already; base line vitals, establishment of a chief complaint, and identification of any immediate life threats is determined within the first few minutes of patient contact. Health care resources need to be better utilized, everyone knows that, and it would be very disappointing to see positive and real change overshadowed by petty job-protectionist, turf-war trash talk between the professions.

  • Rose Hicken
    August 15, 2012 - 09:51

    The only concerns I have with this is how quickly the seniors in nursing homes were picked out to have this service. The majority of seniors in these homes are unable to tell anyone what their symptoms are thereby making them difficult to treat. I wonder if paramedics will have the experience needed to decide what is wrong with the person in the first place. It just seems to me that our seniors will be used as guinea pigs to see how this works out and I'm worried that some will die or suffer needlessly because of the governments decision.

  • Lisa O
    August 15, 2012 - 09:45

    Are you kidding me???? Shortgage of nurses? Like the other statement said, did they not just cut back a bunch of positions? I am currently struggling big time with the decission to go into nursing and what route would be best for me for job potential. Now that I see they want to give the Paramedics more responsibilities and take those responsibilities away from the Nurses and LPN's, maybe my dreams of becoming a nurse are just that a dream because the way this government is going, there will soon be nothing left for the nurses to do!!! Why should I go in debt close to $30,000 when I know there may not be any job for me when I graduate? Sorry, I do not agree with this at all. Paramedics are just that...paramedics, not LPN's, not nurses. Yes, Paramedics are very important but leave the "nursing" duties to the nurses.

    • Get a clue
      August 15, 2012 - 12:30

      Maybe it's a good thing your giving up your dream seeing your not a nurse and already looking your nose down on other health care workers. It's small minded people like you that is what's wrong with the health care system. If you still go into nursing go into it with respect for all your health care workers from the house keeping staff to DRs. Everyone single one of us play a role. that are not just nursing duties as you seem to limit them to. I hope figure you that out before you go into health care.

  • Kudos
    August 15, 2012 - 09:41

    We think our pharmacists excel over some doctors we have had. The pharmacists pick up mistakes, have good public manner, seem to know their stuff very well, and you can review your med chart. If only some of them were MDs. They seem up on new and old drugs moreso than some doctors. They seem to do a good job overall., and take pride in their work.

  • fran
    August 15, 2012 - 09:30

    Ohhhh how this whole thing has turned into a huge bashing of EMS, by ignorant people. In both senses of the word ignorant.

  • Heather
    August 15, 2012 - 09:19

    What about hiring Nurse Practitioners? This concepts works well in other parts of Canada and the rest of the world. Why not use them?.....Because Island Doctors fear a pay cut and don't want a turf battle. PEI continues to practice medicine in the stone ages.

  • Nurse
    August 15, 2012 - 09:14

    Congrats PEI government! Once again you are putting Islander's health at risk by trying to find the cheapest way to deliver health care. Triage is the most crucial step in a ER visit as this is where patients are sorted to decide what triage level they fall in. A decision that can mean life or death. It takes an RN years of work in the ER and extra courses to even be able to do this. So you decide to take a entry level paramedic and put them in triage.Paramedics do not have the education background to be working in the ER. Teach them to cast and suture?? Why not train the nurses who work there already to do this job? Many ER nurses travel north to work and are already trained to cast and suture but are not allowed to in the ER. There are no nursing shortages in the ER, this is our government trying to find the cheapest way possible to deliver health care, at the expense of all Islanders.

    • JohnRoy
      August 15, 2012 - 12:02

      Actually Paramedics do have this training and do it every day. Too many health care professionals forget the reason they got into healthcare (let me remind you...to help people) and let their ego get in the way. Since you are commenting on the level of training you claim to know about paramedics maybe you should actually look and see how much training they receive. As has been pointed out already they have a larger scope of practice then that of an RN. Please do some research before you comment on things you obviously know nothing about.

  • CTF
    August 15, 2012 - 09:12

    I believe this is a great idea. The traditional belief that physicians and RN's are the ONLY professionals that can deliver healthcare is an antiquated notion. There are many highly educated and trained professionals working in health that can take on additional roles. EMT's are a prime example as are respiratory therapists and radiation technologists. Most of these professional have the same level of education as RN's and are certainly as capable.

  • just merge the provinces
    August 15, 2012 - 08:50

    Nova Scotia is a much better run province than PEI. Ghiz and the entire govt are a joke. Just make PEI a regional municipality that is part of a larger province of Nova Scotia. Then we have access to the specialists in Halifax and the big hospitals there and the top notch medivac and ambulance services. If PEI were part of Nova Scotia we would have 20-30 ambulances staffed 24/7 for an island our size as opposed to the 8 we have currently. And we wouldn't have the PNP and other BS catering to Tim Banks and Danny Murphy and other privileged Island ''business people''. Time to merge these tiny ineffective and corrupt little provinces.

  • Den
    August 15, 2012 - 07:43

    Don't think they'll get extra pay for their extra work, that privilege goes to Jizz and his Backroom Boys for all their rewarding work for the people of PEI......okay, I can't say that with a straight face.

  • Resident
    August 15, 2012 - 07:15

    This is the best initiative Healthcare Services came up in years! Good first step. Next steps are to allow nurses to do the same. 80% of emergency cases do not require physicians. Another good and cost-saving move would be to roll-out nurse 1-800 hotline from Ontario to serve PEI. 10-30% of emergency cases can be resolved without visiting the emergency room. Pay ON monthly support fee, and save the Province tons of Emergency Room fees, and offer better and more accessible service to all Islanders.

  • pitching several different models of care
    August 15, 2012 - 07:08

    Health PEI is obviously flying by the seat of its pants frantically trying to re invent the wheel. Does PEI need to continue this consultant driven series of missteps? This is what happens without leadership and intention. Management by committee leads to over loaded management and less front line care. These models are costing millions after being "Pitched" to a board of fools. Thanks eh.

  • RN
    August 15, 2012 - 05:30

    How can Doug Currie say there's a shortage of nurses on PEI? Did they not just eliminate RN jobs in western PEI, as well as at QEH in the last 2 years? Oh, sorry...."redistribute" the jobs? In my area of work there are no jobs available to RN's - where we desperately need more. It takes a seasoned RN with the proper training and experience (4 years of university and numerous years of experience) to be able to triage a patient effectively. How do they expect a paramedic to do this with the minimal training they have? I think this sounds like a new "Model of Care" from the Health ministry - a serious mistake if it goes through. We are diluting the quality of care and simply shuffling patients around to suit the province's financial constraints.

    • Reality
      August 15, 2012 - 09:13

      How can an RN who says they are that educated be so naive? Comparing the level of training for two different professions. If one were to do that you would point out that these 4 years of training actually only consists of 2-3 days per week taking university courses which could be english 101. A Paramedic is highly trained in emergency and non emergency health care over the course of years and in very demanding government regulated body. A Paramedic is trained to think on they're feet on they're own without the need or guideance of a Dr. unlike an RN protocol. Work together. Don't divide or health care is already lost.

    • RJ
      August 15, 2012 - 09:19

      MINIMAL TRAINING....???? You obviously have no idea what kind of training paramedics go through. If you take the hours that a paramedic goes through in school for the primary care course and the advanced care course, it is actually more than the 4 years that a nurse would complete. This is frustrating that an RN would not even be aware of what a fellow health care provider can do. Do you not realize that Advanced care paramedics can intubate, surgical cric, pace, cardiovert, needle decompress, start IV's, administer meds, etc - all while out on our own, doing these things in someones home, on the side of the road or in the ambulance.

    • mb
      August 15, 2012 - 09:37

      Too many big words for the RN, RJ. They need 4 years university and numerous years working to just triage a patient properly. Let's not overwhelm.

    • Really RN?
      August 15, 2012 - 09:40

      @RN you must not work in the ER. If you did or had any respect for allied health care workers you'd know that paramedic are highly trained and can preform tasks an RN can't and can do so with out a DRs orders. Health care providers need to come together as a team and provide the best health care possible for the Pts not make uneducated remarks about training they feel other health care providers have. Let paramedics and LPN have a bigger role it's pt care that counts in the end not the pride of the providers

  • Donna
    August 15, 2012 - 03:27

    The EMS staff on PEI are great people all the ones I met are very caring .It would be a great idea for sure and they all deserve a increase in pay for the wonderful caring job they do .You are all special people .

  • RJ
    August 15, 2012 - 01:32

    This is great news for residents of PEI. Paramedics are highly trained and should be seen as an extension of the Emergency room. They already perform life saving skills and they do them in the ambulance, in your home or in a wrecked car on the side of the road. People think of paramedics solely as "ambulance drivers" but they are far more than just drivers. People don't realize just how much Paramedics can do. Like the article states, these initiatives are already in place in other places and are a huge success.

  • Joe Blow
    August 14, 2012 - 22:47

    I have no problem with this idea as long as paramedics receive the proper training. I don't care who saves my life or provides care to me, as long as they know what they are doing!!

  • don
    August 14, 2012 - 21:47

    that is great but it should mean ALL ems staff not just picked favorites. and they should get more pay for the extra work and training.

    • just me
      August 15, 2012 - 08:50

      Triageing in the emergency department requires the skills of a registered nurse who has trained for 4 years and has work history in this field before he or she can accurately decide on each patients acuity scale. This is one of the most important duties in the emergency department . Aside from their academic training.. these nurses have years of bedside patient care in other areas that give them the knowledge and wisdom to carry the responsibility of this highly qualifed position.

    • Gman
      August 16, 2012 - 00:20

      Uuumm, the gov't is doing this to save money so I don't think pay raises are in order. PEI is broke and they're cutting costs wherever they can so instead of publicly paid unionized nurses at $37/hr we'll get privatized EMS at $15/hr