Primary Care Paramedic (also called PI or BLS)
- May administer five (5) medications for symptom relief (SR):
- Use a ECG monitoring and interpretation to 12 derivatives, which measures and analyzes the heart rhythm. This monitor can see the heart's electrical condition on different angles and detect a possible heart attack;
- Defibrillation can stabilize the heartbeat of a patient so that the heart gets back to pumping blood efficiently. It should be noted that the defibrillator which paramedics of primary care use is semi-automatic. This defibrillator is connected to the patient and can read the state of the heart automatically. This can defibrillate a patient with two possible rhythms, or ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.
How do I become a Primary Care Paramedic?
Primary care paramedics have all followed a two-year (2) program in an Ontario college. This program allows the future paramedic to familiarize himself with not only the complex equipment of the modern ambulance, but also with the technical emergency response, monitoring and defibrillation, and drug delivery techniques. They also learn to work with those paramedics providing advanced and critical care.
This program leads to a paramedic diploma.
Before practicing as a paramedic, graduates must pass the Ontario Paramedic Provincial Licensing Examination commonly called A-EMCA. In addition to practice as a paramedic in other Canadian provinces, graduates must take the equivalency exams.
Advanced Care Paramedic (also known as ALS or PII)
- May administer over 23 different drugs;
- Can start I.V. and I.O.;
- Can perform chemical cardio version (through medication) and electrical (through the defibrillator) which means they can stabilize the cardiac rhythm;
- May perform endotracheal intubation (ETT), which means they can insert a tube directly into the respiratory tract by oral or nasal airway;
- Can perform decompression of a pneumothorax (presence of air in the pleural cavity);
- Use a defibrillator with 12 electrodes which allows them to see several facets of the heart;
- Use more advanced equipment;
- Can perform external cardiac "pacing" which means they can use the defibrillator as a "pacemaker";
- Can administer narcotics to manage pain in trauma.
Because we are in a rural area, it is even more important to be able to establish these emergency services of advanced care because of the distance to reach a hospital. Advanced care ensures providing some care that would normally only be offered in an emergency room. Given that our paramedics can perform delegated medical acts, this provides treatment to people in distress much more quickly. The goal is to provide our people the best possible service in a defined response time.
It is important to note that whatever the paramedic’s skills are, patients can be assured of receiving the best of care.
How do I become an Advanced Care Paramedic?
Advanced Care Paramedics have all followed a two-year (2) diploma in a paramedic program from an Ontario college and have obtained their A-EMCA Certificate from the Ontario Ministry of Health.
Then, they must follow an ACP “Advanced Care Paramedic” program in an Ontario college. This program of one year or more of intensive studies is made to train the Primary Care Paramedic in all the work aspects of the Advanced Care Paramedic in accordance with the Paramedic Association of Canada's National Occupational Competency Profile (for ACPs).
To practice as an Advanced Care Paramedic, you must pass an exam from the Ontario Ministry of Health and obtain certification from a local medical director.