1. What is your scope?
2. How long have you worked with IPS?
Coming up on 4 years.
3. What types of schedules have you worked?
I’ve worked a few different schedules so far with the most common being 2 weeks on 2 weeks off. Some others have been 2 weeks on 1 week off, 3 weeks on 1 week off and 6 days on 1 day off.
4. What is your background before training?
After high school I went to university for nursing. In my third year I transitioned to EMS earning an EMS diploma in 2007 (EMT/PCP) then EMS degree (EMT-P/ACP) in 2011. I worked 6 years for a provincial ambulance service before being hired by IPS in late 2012.
5. What types of locations have you worked at?
I’ve worked at various sites in AB and BC. Some were near larger urban areas with a hospital just minutes away. Some have been remote with the closest hospital being 3-4 hours away. Some locations include construction sites, pipelines, SAGD, and camps. There are jobs where you will be the only medic looking after a handful up to 200 workers. Others you will be a member of a clinical team looking after thousands of workers.
6. What is camp life like in remote settings?
Camp is our home away from home. Most of them are pretty comfortable and offer all sorts of amenities such as comminutions rooms, gyms, theatres, coffee shops, etc. The food is usually pretty good as well. Every camp has its own unique atmosphere. Some are smaller so you get to know everyone. Some are quite large and basically their own town.
7. Is remote medical work challenging and rewarding?
Absolutely. Challenges can vary widely depending on the person, site, job, etc. While this job at times has been the most challenging of my career, it is hands down the most rewarding.
8. What type of cases do you typically see?
While We see trauma and complex medical cases just like you would working on a 911 truck, most of what we see and treat is primary or preventative care. Things like upset stomach, sore throat, muscle aches, toothache, flu shot clinics, etc.
9. What are your co-workers like?
I’ve been fortunate to work with some really great medics, RNs, Physiotherapists and our medical director. My coworkers are from all over the country and bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience. It quickly becomes a family environment.
10. If and when you are on your own, how do you handle an incident?
You are seldom completely by yourself as there are usually designated first aiders, security, safety, bystanders, etc. Delegation and scene control are very important. It is also very important to know what your resources are and how to access them. Other than that you would run it like any other call or patient contact.
11. What advice would you pass on to others looking to work in this environment?
Self-evaluation is very important. You need be very comfortable with your knowledge and skills and identify areas of improvement. Experience on a 911 or transfer truck really helps. Most of what we do is preventative care or primary care/community paramedicine. Experiences can vary widely due to license level, location, company and scope of work. Some medics will see hundreds of patients a year while others may only see a handful.