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Challenges Facing The Paramedic Profession

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Challenges Facing The Paramedic Profession Question: Discuss about the Challenges Facing the Paramedic Profession in Australia.     Answer: The Paramedic Profession Is One Of The Most Dangerous Occupations In Australia. Discuss The Challenges. A paramedic is a medical professional who provides healthcare to individuals who are predominantly found in out of the hospital and pre-hospital environments and these situations are mainly emergency situations like in ambulances as part of emergency medical services (EMS). They are the most highly trained class of emergency medical technician working in the emergency medical field. The width of the scope of roles of paramedics differ from country to country but what is common for all of them is that they have the power to make autonomous decisions on regard to the giving emergency care to patients (Waxmanand Williams2015).  In some countries like Australia, paramedicshave professional bodies who represent their interests as they perform their duties. The Australian body is referred to as Paramedics Australasia. Each year, these paramedics respond more than three million emergency medical assistance calls. According to a report by Safe Work Australia (SWA), paramedics have the sixth highest level of injuries that occur while they are carrying out their duties and also they have the sixth highest reports and claims in men for mental stress (Williams, Onsman and Brown 2010). This shows that paramedics in Australia face a variety of challenges while carrying out their duties but there are also remedies to these challenges and this essay will name both of these issues. When paramedics are called upon they have a variety of roles to perform. They are majorly responding to medical and trauma situations. These emergency calls can include responding to illnesses such as labor and delivery, heart attacks and severe allergic reaction. Thus, the paramedics will give the patients various medications in an effort to soothe their symptoms as they are being transported to the hospital. They can be required to first when they arrive at the scene of the emergency to evaluate the health situations of the patients so that they can know what step to take next (Lazarsfeld-Jensen, Bridgesand Loftus2011). They can also give people who have their airways blocked by performing emergency respiratory procedures. Next, when people get injured these paramedics can bandage their wounds. At times people can suffer serious injuries from accidents to their heads and necks and paramedics are called in to stabilize their head and necks injuries and time to stabilize the broken bones that patients might suffer.  They also have the duty to give medications to patients once they find out what their ailment is and they can also give the patients intravenous (IV) fluids. They also have the skills to resuscitate victims who have drowned. Finally, they help victims of heart attacks by performing cardiac support and can also aid in the emergency delivery of babies for women in labor (Perkins, 2015, pp.950). For them to perform all these duties and more, they have to have some traits like maintaining composure when they face stressful situations, be patient, know how to work well with others on their team and as well as be able to think fast and on their feet while they are responding to emergency situations.   In Australia, the paramedic profession is among one of the most dangerous ones as they have one of the highest levels of fatalities of all professions. They also face a variety of challenges while performing their duties but these challenges can have remedies so that the paramedic profession can be made easier and effective. First, Australia is a vast country with different terrains and remote locations and paramedics have to provide the best, efficient and effective prehospital medical care to the population in these areas. It could be hard to reach all of these people because the emergency vehicles may not be able to reach these people because the terrain could be hard to maneuver. Thus this will make it hard for the paramedics to give the best healthcare possible in a timely and effective manner. Also, the paramedics can get lost if they are not familiar with the area as Australia is quite vast thus they may not reach the emergency situation as fast as possible (O’MearaandGrbich2009). The remedy to this challenge is that paramedics can be taught about the vast geographical areas in Australia especially the area that they are assigned to and once they are familiar with these they will be able to reach those in need of emergency medical care without getting lost. The emergency vehicles should be adjusted or be ones that can access all terrains and thus they can reach all people everywhere who are in need of emergency medical services no matter where they are (O’Meara, Tourle, Stirling, Walker and Pedler2012, pp.10). Another challenge is there is an increase in demand for the services of paramedics in Australia mainly due tothe growth of the aging population in the country while they have a limited supply of health resources. The paramedics have to find a way to meet the growing demand to provide emergency medicalcare effectively and efficiently. They have to identify means through which the paramedics can apply their limited health resources to equally give emergency medical services to the Australians who require them. As a solution to this challenge, the Australian government should carry out studies to know what health resources are being strained. Once this is known, they can assign more of the budget to increase these resources so that they cannot be strained and individuals can get the most effective and best emergency medical services when they require it (Lazarsfeld-Jensen, Bridgesand Loftus2011). The next challenge is that recently there has been an increase in incidences which involve attacks with agents like biological, chemical and radiological in Australia but the paramedics have been lacking in being prepared to responding to such situations. Even though they have developed multi-agency action plans ad equipping them to deal with such situations the paramedics still have trouble being prepared to respond. Thus, these attacks keep on evolving and the agencies like paramedics cannot keep up with them and respond to such emergency as fast as possible(Roberts, Henderson, Willisand Muir?Cochrane2013, pp.375). A solution to this challenge is the different agencies that exist in Australia who deal with such national emergencies should work together and identify these attacks and find ways to prevent them before they occur. If they cannot prevent them, they should regularly carry out drills on responding to such emergency situations so that the paramedics and know how to respond quickly incase of similar situations (Roberts, Sim, Blackand Smith2015). In Australia, the paramedic’s services mainly depend on funding from sources like insurance, transport fees, funding from the government and subscription schemes. This limits the amount of funding that they can get to carry out their services as they just depend on these sources and have no other options to turn to. Thus limited funding will limit the level of quality of services that they can provide. A remedy to this problem is that more efforts should be put to find more sources of funding for the paramedic’s services. When there are more options, it won’t limit the amount they get and also they will not be boxed in with the quality of services that they give to their patients. Therefore the more options there are for funding the more finite resources will be available (Mahony2012, pp.8).   In Australia, one in every five patients whom paramedics respond to when they are in emergency situations are people who have mental health and substance abuse issues. Most of the times these patients have a tendency of acting out or being violent and causing harm to the first responders. There has been an increase in the occurrence of such situations across the country with more paramedics getting harmed as they perform their duties (Maguire, O’Meara, Brightwell, O’Neilland Fitzgerald2014, pp. 479). This challenge an be remedied by ensuring that protocols are in place for situations where patients are violent so that the situation can’tescalate. Also, the paramedics should be trained in self-defense tactics so that they can defend themselves incase they are attacked while they are providing their services (Williams, Onsmanand Brown2010, pp.582). Also, when they respond to these patients with mental health and substance abuse issues,  the patients may be prone to causing self-harm to themselves. At times these accidents that they respond to are tragic. This means that the paramedics can witness various tragic situations which can involve death in their careers which could cause harm to their mental state. They could suffer issues like depression or suicidal thoughts. More and more paramedics in Australia are reporting that they suffer from some form of a mental issue as a result of carrying out their duties(Sofianopoulos, Williams, Archerand Thompson2011). As a solution to this issue is that there should be safe avenues where the paramedics can turn to when the stress from their work threatens their mental health. By providing a means like therapy sessions where they can talk to someone about their issues, the paramedics can deal with them before it reaches a critical point (Scully2011, pp.40)   Lack of communication and teamwork between paramedics who work together is an issue. When these paramedics cannot communicate well and coordinate with their fellow team members, it will negatively affect the quality of emergency medical services that they provide. Thus as a solution, paramedics should hold retreats for them where they can hold sessions to build trust between the teams once there is trust it means people an communicate better while they are working. Also, transparency and dialogue in the paramedic’s teams should be encouraged and an example set by those in charge so that the rest can follow(Edwards2011, pp.80). The education of paramedics in Australia is another challenge. There is a lot of skills and knowledge that paramedics are expected to learn in a short period of time. Educators are at a loss because they know that the curriculum is quite extensive and even if they teach it to the best of their ability they can never be sure if the paramedic’s students absorb it in all (Hou, Regoand Service2013). Also, from day one on the job the paramedics have lives depending on them,unlike other medical students who get to practice first before they are thrown intoreal-life situations. Thus the curriculum should be adjusted so that it is ensured that it is not only top quality but the students can absorb it easily and thus apply it to their jobs with no issue leading to lives being saved (O’Brien, Moore, Dawsonand Hartley2014).   All in all, the paramedics in Australia are faced with a variety of challenges while they are dispensing their services during emergency situations. These challenges create hindrances to them while delivering these services and thus it can lead to dire consequences for the patients who require these emergency interventions. The challenges given in the essay above have remedies which have been suggested as a solution and they should be applied so that it can ensure that paramedics can go on with their work with no issue. However, there are more challenges that face the paramedic’sprofession and thus more studies need to be carried out on the issue. By using the findings remedies can be formulated for these challenges and this will lead to the betterment of the services given during emergency situations.   References Edwards, D., 2011. Paramedic preceptor: work readiness in graduate paramedics. The clinical teacher, 8(2), pp.79-82. Hou, X.Y., Rego, J. and Service, M., 2013. paramedic education opportunities and challenges in Australia. Emergency Medicine Australasia, 25(2), pp.114-119. Lazarsfeld-Jensen, A., Bridges, D. and Loftus, S., 2011. Transitions: Command culture and autonomous paramedic practice. The Transitions Project Report. Bathurst: Charles Sturt University. Maguire, B.J., O’Meara, P.F., Brightwell, R.F., O’Neill, B.J. and Fitzgerald, G.J., 2014. Occupational injury risk among Australian paramedics: an analysis of national data. Med J Aust, 200(8), pp.477-480. Mahony, K., 2012. The politics of professionalisation: some implications for the occupation of ambulance paramedics in Australia. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine, 1(3), p.8. O’Brien, K., Moore, A., Dawson, D. and Hartley, P., 2014. An Australian story: paramedic education and practice in transition. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine, 11(3). O’Meara, P.F., Tourle, V., Stirling, C., Walker, J. and Pedler, D., 2012. Extending the paramedic role in rural Australia: a story of flexibility and innovation. Rural and remote health, 12(2), pp.1-13. O’Meara, Peter, Ph. D., and Grbich, Carol, 2009. Paramedics in Australia: contemporary challenges of practice, Pearson Education Australia, Frenchs Forest, N.S.W. Perkins, G.D., Lall, R., Quinn, T., Deakin, C.D., Cooke, M.W., Horton, J., Lamb, S.E., Slowther, A.M., Woollard, M., Carson, A. and Smyth, M., 2015. Mechanical versus manual chest compression for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (PARAMEDIC): a pragmatic, cluster randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, 385(9972), pp.947-955. Roberts, L., Henderson, J., Willis, E. and MUIR?COCHRANE, E., 2013. The challenges of gaining ethics approval for ethnographic research in the pre?hospital setting. Journal of psychiatric and mental health nursing, 20(4), pp.374-378. Roberts, M.H., Sim, M.R., Black, O. and Smith, P., 2015. Occupational injury risk among ambulance officers and paramedics compared with other healthcare workers in Victoria, Australia: analysis of workers’ with others on their team and as well as be able to think fast and on their feet Sofianopoulos, S., Williams, B., Archer, F. and Thompson, B., 2011. The exploration of physical fatigue, sleep and depression in paramedics: a pilot study. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine, 9(1). Waxman, A. and Williams, B., 2015. Paramedic pre-employment education and the concerns of our future: What are our expectations?. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine, 4(4). Williams, B., Onsman, A. and Brown, T., 2010. Is the Australian paramedic discipline a full profession?. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine, 8(1). Williams, B., Onsman, A. and Brown, T., 2010. The changing Australian healthcare landscape: implications for paramedics. Journal of Paramedic Practice, 2(12), pp.580-584.

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