I'm a primary care paramedic. I work for the HRM division of Emergency Health Services, a privately-owned company responsible for managing ground ambulance, medical communications centre and air medical transport operations all over Nova Scotia.
The best part of my job is the adrenaline rush I get from dealing with life and death every day. The most challenging part of my job is dealing with the stress and the sometimes overwhelming responsibility that comes with handling those situations.
I graduated from Medavie HealthEd's Primary Care Paramedic program in May. It's a year-long program divided up into a six-month didactic portion, followed by a month working in a hospital practicing clinical skills and a month after that in an ambulance working under a facilitator.
It's a rigourous program, but they focus a lot on preparing you for the job application process. When I applied, I didn't have any trouble getting a job. In fact, 17 out of 18 of my classmates have been hired in Nova Scotia since they graduated, and there are tons of people coming to Halifax from Ontario looking for paramedical jobs.
Before I decided to become a paramedic, I studied theatre at Dal. I'd taken all my science and theatre prerequisites, and I weighed my options and thought that theatre would be best. When I finished my degree, I realized I wanted a job that would give me time to pursue my hobbies, and the idea of sitting behind a desk from nine to five, Monday through Friday, was very unappealing.
My current schedule is two days and two nights on, followed by four days off. The shifts are 12 hours each, and I could be working anywhere in HRM. As a paramedic, there are a hundred different things that could happen in a day and a great community of police, firefighters, doctors and nurses to offer support.
I love not knowing what to expect. And let's be honest: the lights and sirens are really cool.
Paramedicine is for people who can handle high stress situations while being able to maintain their cool. Being a paramedic can be really exciting and incredibly rewarding. If you're an empathic person who does well dealing with people from all walks of life, then I think this could be the job for you.