Brandon at EMS Basics asked some bloggers to consider the other side of a topic that they have strong feelings about, one way or the other, and reconsider. Here’s my reconsideration of Community Paramedicine; funny thing is, I actually like this new opinion better that the one I had before considering an alternative.
Out with the old…
In with the new…
Responding to 911 emergencies just isn’t what it used to be. It’s not the responding that has me down; it’s the”emergencies!” People used to be ashamed to call 911 for help unless the help they sought was help they could not give themselves.
Alas, times change, and I reluctantly have to change with them. My idea of what a 911 response is, and what the general public now believes it to be may be far different, but close enough for me to suspend my beliefs and change with the times.
At one time the very idea of Community Paramedics made me sick. Now, I just cringe a little. EMS has evolved, and if we are to thrive as an industry, and by thriving I do not mean respond with lights and sirens to life threatening emergencies, we need to expand our role. We can have it both ways. Dinosaurs like me have to bend, and see the profession for what it is rather than what we once dreamed it to be.
My favorite thing about being an EMT used to be all about the thrill. As time progressed, and I grew up, it was more about the people. It’s the connections I make with my patients where I get my satisfaction. I’ve learned that the people who need us may not be suffering life threatening illness or injury, but are hurting just the same.
The medical profession is a watered down resemblance of what it used to be. We may have more technology, and more doctors, and procedures, and medications, but as a whole the whole experience is greatly lacking. Doctor visits are fifteen minute checklists of insurance covered tests and scheduled exams. The care and connection that people seek as they age is gone. We are now numbers, not people.
That is where the Community Paramedic makes sense. Who better than us to make the patient/provider experience something far more that what people get at their doctor’s office. We make house calls. We go into people’s homes, share their hopes and fears, pet their cats and see how they live. We have an opportunity to bring care back to health care simply by visiting our patients where they live, seeing how they live, and helping them live better.
With all the modern advances in medicine, people still get sick, suffer and die. Doctors and surgeons cannot save everybody, and nature always wins. Our patients are not expecting miracles from us. They know our limitations. They also know that we see them as people, and will do everything we can to make them feel better.
There is room for the Community Paramedic, just as there is room for a 911 response based Paramedic. If we are able to create two separate divisions under the same umbrella the opportunities for EMT’s and Paramedics will grow exponentially. The burned out medic could be a thing of the past as chances to get off the meat wagon and onto a house call rotation improve.
We can’t do everything, but what we can do has a vital role in the well being of our patients and ourselves. I say give Community Paramedicine a chance.