My Life as a Community Paramedic
A few years ago, I worked as a community paramedic, and it felt like a dream job. I worked a Monday through Friday shift and my hours were from 8-4, the company provided me with a car to drive to visit patients and most beautiful of all, I was partnered with some really great non-clinical people, one in particular was and is still is a Social Worker from who I learned more social skills than I can count on two hands. Additionally, I was able to attend non-clinical courses, such as a community health worker course and a motivational interviewing class.
Although the program ultimately shuttered its doors and my dream came to an abrupt end, our impact was, at least in my opinion, everlasting, for me. Patients and community members alike enjoyed us coming out to visit after their hospital visits, and that alone was enlightening. I made so many connections with community members which made me feel like a part of their household in some instances. For me, this made an impression on my life, my career, and the way I currently care for patients. Sure, I am less than a perfect paramedic, but my perspective is different, it is more nuanced in the sense that I tend to be more communicative.
What I gained was an understanding of the person and their life, not their emergency. Which has allowed to me to be conceptualize a new way to treat patients and their families. I now know where they come from and understand their circumstances or at least I try to. I am less likely to judge and more likely to be compassionate than assume this is some run of the mill call. I am still medic and realize when things are futile, but my emotional response is different. It is more, personal, more individualized. Sometimes I still wonder if it was a dream. Here is my suggestion, instead of using the term patient, we call our “patients” people and treat them like we would want to be treated.
That said, I felt like you all should know my thoughts on what becoming a community paramedic did for me. I have a lot more ideas concerning the actual nuts and bolts of the community paramedic programs but let us save that for a different day. Thanks for reading.