The profession of Paramedic

Paramedics draw on medical knowledge linked to emergency illnesses. 5,400 training hours are required to treat a wide range of medical issues, including but not limited to the threats connected with respiratory decompensation, heart ailments, neurological disorders, or any other form of trauma, encompassing a small fall at home to a major accident involving multiple victims.

Paramedics apply specific care according to the conditions in which they find themselves. This could include working in a 6th floor cramped studio without elevator access, to that in a dark cellar, or that of a construction site accident, or one involving extrication of a vehicle.   Broken limb mobilization or care for multiple traumatic injuries requires many hours of diverse field training. In cases such as these, adaptation and the capacity to follow all rules that have been established is an utmost priority.

By using internal resources to best subside another’s suffering, and by putting their professional competences into practice, paramedics must be ready for any situation. This could involve a simple case such as caring for a stabilized patient, to that of a complex one, involving multiple wounded people.

Within the canton of Geneva, emergency teams are composed of two ES-certified paramedics that ensure both primary (P1/P2/P3) and secondary (S1 in hospital setting) medical interventions. Most of it taking place in total independence, paramedics provide care in function with the medical protocol that is appointed by a SSMUS-certified doctor who has specific emergency medical training. A small number of medical interventions are performed in collaboration with a central hub known as SMUR (Service Mobile d’Urgence et de Réanimation, Urgent Medical Aid Service), comprised of both a doctor and paramedic. These collaborators provide advanced medical competences, such as endotracheal intubation for unconscious patients, cardiovascular pathology management, severe respiratory distress, etc.

Paramedics are also often called to cooperate with a large number of public servants, such as police officers, firefighters, or home health care providers. This collaboration requires close partnership with a cross-disciplinary approach.

The profession of an ES-trained paramedic is described within the course program for training and education in “search and rescue” higher school, edited by the Forum de Formation de Sauvetage (Search and Rescue Training Forum), and approved by the OFFT (Federal Office for Professional Education and Technology) in January 2008.

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