Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Becoming a Paramedic in Canada

Paramedics, also known as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), are healthcare professionals who work in emergency medical situations. They offer life-support assistance to individuals in pre-hospital environment, usually at the point of accident or illness and in an ambulance while transporting the patient to the hospital. Some paramedics may also undertake hospital-based roles and provide emergency life-support to patients until they are taken for further treatment.

Employment Prospects

Paramedics are typically employed with emergency units at hospitals, emergency response vehicle services, airlines, military and specialist mobile units. The employment opportunities for paramedic are expected to increase significantly in coming years because of the aging population in Canada. Additionally, the emphasis on providing emergency treatment both on scene and en route to the hospital has further given rise to the demand for paramedics.

Employment Prerequisites
The job of a paramedic has evolved a great deal lately, so have the job specifications. They are not only expected to have undergone a formal education program in paramedics but also need to have hands-on training, covering psychological, medical, trauma and emergency situations. In addition, they need to possess 

  • Strong understanding in human anatomy
  • Crisis intervention ability
  • Critical decision making skills
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Understanding of professional and legal issues associated with the job
  • Excellent leadership skills
  • Exceptional therapeutic communication skills
  • Effective verbal and written reporting skills

The healthcare system is highly dependent on emergency medical technicians. Therefore, recruiters are keen on hiring only the best talent. Despite increased employment opportunities, the job market remains extremely competitive. Therefore, aspiring paramedics must ensure that they apply with a reputed college that provides them with in-depth theoretical grounding, hands-on lab and extensive on-the-job learning in various situations.

Studying Paramedics in Canada

Although there are a number of colleges in the country that offer paramedic program but Centennial College’s program offers equal balance of classroom and practical training. The program is delivered by the leaders in the EMT community. In addition, it also offers students international exchange opportunities to enhance their understanding. It has an outstanding graduate employment rate as well.

Program Outline

The paramedic training program is a two-year post-secondary program that runs through four semesters. It covers a wide range of subjects, including Principles of Psychology, Pre-hospital Care: Theory and Lab, and Professional and Legal Issues, Research, Responsibilities and Leadership, therapeutic Communication and Crisis Intervention, Anatomy, Alterations of Human Body Functions, Pharmacology for Applied Health, Medical Directed Therapeutics and Paramedic Responsibilities, EMS Research Methodologies and PCP Integration and Critical Decision Making.

The focus is on helping students gain skills to:

  • Communicate effectively with patients and others
  • Assess patients and offer appropriate support
  • Implement preventive strategies that promote patient’s well being
  • Ensure preparedness of the ambulance and its equipment
  • Perform delegated medical acts in a controlled manner
  • Make quick decisions in emergency situations

Additionally, the program also prepares students to take the Ministry of Health exam for Advanced EMCA, which is a mandatory requirement for employment as a paramedic in Ontario.

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