What is a Paramedic
A paramedic is a specialized healthcare professional who is primarily trained to respond to emergency calls for medical help outside of a hospital. Paramedics in Manitoba primarily work in ambulances as part of the Emergency Response Service (ERS). Paramedics may also provide medical care outside of an emergency response environment. For example, they may provide:
- care to a patient transferring from one health facility to another (both ground and aeromedical)
- care within an emergency department and/or Nursing Station
- care in community settings (Community Paramedicine, Palliative Care) and
- care through private companies on industrial sites or at special events
Paramedics can also function as educators, administrators, and managers. Education program standards and approval are the responsibility of the College of Paramedics of Manitoba. For more information about approved paramedical education programs in Manitoba, and the eligibility requirements for program entry, please see the College website at: https://collegeparamb.ca/professional-practice/education-providers/ and https://collegeparamb.ca/public/becoming-registered/
In Manitoba, there are 5 different practice levels and the scope of practice of each practice level is defined under the College of Paramedics of Manitoba General Regulations and the Reserved Acts. Each practitioner is responsible for ensuring they understand their scope of practice, that they are competent in the skills/procedures within that scope, and that they comply with the scope of work as determined by their employer. To practice in Manitoba, practitioners in each practice level must be registered with the College of Paramedics of Manitoba and receive a Certificate of Practice (formerly known as a license).
Emergency Medical Responder
This is the foundational level for anyone providing patient care. EMR’s perform patient assessments, vital signs, trauma injury management, and basic care for medical issues. In Manitoba, EMR’s have the responsibility of assisting patients with some prescribed symptom relief medications, as well as administering medications the assessment indicates would benefit the patient in an acute/urgent situation (e.g., Naloxone for opioid overdose). They also receive the necessary training to maintain established medical devices (e.g., intravenous catheter). Education Programs for EMR are a minimum 312 hours in length and include a clinical (applying skills in a precepted clinical environment) requirement. EMR practitioners may work with a Medical First Response service, an Industrial setting, dispatch, Low acuity patient transport, or on an ambulance providing emergency response.
Primary Care Paramedic
This is normally the entry to work level on an Emergency Response Unit (ambulance) in Manitoba. In addition to the basic assessment and patient management skills of an EMR, PCP’s also provide symptom relief with a variety of medications and procedures, initiate Intravenous Cannulation, and manage airways at the intermediate level. Education Programs for PCP are generally 11 months – two years in length with significant clinical and practicum requirements. Practitioners may work with an Emergency Response Service (Ambulance), dispatch, assisting medical or nursing practitioners in a clinical setting, industrial settings, and aeromedical transport services.
Intermediate Care Paramedic
In addition to PCP skills, PCP-IC’s have enhanced medication administration responsibilities, and with additional training can perform more advanced procedures (cardiac arrest resuscitation, advanced cardiac procedures) in the emergency response environment. PCP-IC’s have received training in addition to successfully completing a PCP Program. Practitioners may work with an Emergency Response Service (Ambulance), dispatch, assisting medical or nursing practitioners in a clinical setting, industrial settings, and aeromedical transport services.
Advanced Care Paramedic
In addition to PCP skills, ACP’s have extensive additional education and have advanced medication and procedural responsibilities. ACP programs are 2-3 years in length blending didactic and extensive practical application of knowledge, and practitioners must have a minimum two years’ experience as a PCP to enroll. Practitioners may work with an Emergency Response Service (Ambulance), dispatch, Community and Outreach settings, assisting medical or nursing practitioners in a clinical setting, industrial settings, and aeromedical transport services.
Critical Care Paramedic
In addition to ACP skills, CCP’s have extensive additional education which allows them to perform very advanced skills. This is the highest level of responsibility for patient care currently working in Manitoba. At this time in Manitoba, practitioners work in aeromedical transport (STARS) services, but wider clinical and field application is being contemplated.