Original Research

Quality of work life of paramedics practicing community paramedicine in northern Ontario, Canada: a mixed-methods sequential explanatory study

AUTHORS

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Behdin Nowrouzi-Kia1
PhD, Assistant Professor *

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Jordan B Nixon2
MHK

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Stephen Ritchie3
PhD, Associate Professor

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Elizabeth Wenghofer4
PhD, Professor

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David VanderBurgh5
MD, Physician

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Jill Sherman6
MPH, Research Associate

AFFILIATIONS

1 Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada; School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada; Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada; and School of Rural and Northern Health, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

2 School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

3 School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada; and Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

4 School of Rural and Northern Health, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

5 Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

6 Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Present address: Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

ACCEPTED: 19 April 2021


early abstract:

Background: This paper aimed to evaluate pilot community paramedicine (CP) programs in northern Ontario from the perspectives of paramedics to gain program recommendations related to both rural and urban settings.
Methods:  An online questionnaire was created and distributed to 879 paramedics with and without CP experience employed at eight emergency medical services providers in northern Ontario. An explanatory sequential design was used to analyze and synthesize the results from the quantitative survey items and the open-ended responses.  
Results: Seventy-five (40.5%) respondents participated in a CP program, and the majority of 75 paramedics who indicated they participated in CP (n = 41; 54.4%) were from rural areas. CP was generally well received by both paramedics currently practicing CP and those who were not practicing CP. The majority (86.3%) of paramedics stated paramedics should be practicing CP in the future. Paramedics identified developing professional relationships and improving health promotion as positive aspects of CP. Areas for CP program improvement included better organization and scheduling, improved training, and a need for better patient tracking software. 
Conclusions: Engaging and consulting paramedics in the ongoing process of CP development and implementation is important to ensure they feel valued and are part of the change process.