What we do isn’t paramedicine.
It is medicine.
If we want a real seat at the table, we need to get comfortable with the idea that we provide medical care to patients, not anything else, and certainly not anything less. What we do as paramedics may be via a delegated practice model but make no mistake, we are in the business of providing medicine while transporting.
We provide medical care, not paramedical care.
Calling what we do “paramedicine” is meaningless sugar coating in an attempt at deference and trying to not step on toes. Saying we practice “paramedicine” is mitigated speech because we don’t have the guts to say what we do – medicine.
Why do we have such a collective problem saying what we do is medicine – the same medicine that nurse, doctors and mid-level providers deal with? Until we can look other healthcare providers straight in the eye and say that we are medical providers and we provide medical care maybe we don’t deserve that seat at the table. Maybe we can just sit at the para-table.
Until a leadership organization comes along and is willing to support this notion, I do not support any of them. Most associations seem to waste an inordinate amount of time trying to pin down meaningless semantics and worrying about what we should be called and hypothetical hierarchies. Trying to divide us from other health care providers is not going to reap any benefits – the future lies in collaboration and integration.
I am a paramedic; I provide medical care. While the term “practicing medicine” may have specific legal connotations that are specific to each state (usually reserved for doctors) I would be remiss if I did not point out we as paramedics have a specific scope of practice. A scope. Of. Practice.
We engage in at least a limited form of the practice of medicine as the term scope of practice implies exactly that – the scope of our practice. I am not comparing us to doctors, we are not doctors, not even close, but let us not mitigate what it is we do by adopting non-sensical terms that are divisive between us and other health care professionals.
If an organization wants to say what paramedics do is not medicine, but rather paramedicine, they have lost touch with reality and lost my support. Paramedics are starting vasoactive medications in the field, setting up ventilators, interpreting lab values, starting blood transfusions, and deciding who goes to the cath lab. That is medicine and we damn well better get good at it.
What we do is medicine, not anything less.