W. Tavares, A. Allana, L. Beaune, D. Weiss & I. Blanchard (2021) Principles to Guide the Future of Paramedicine in Canada, Prehospital Emergency Care, DOI: 10.1080/10903127.2021.1965680

Paramedicine in Canada has experienced significant growth in recent years, which has resulted in a misalignment between existing guiding conceptualizations and how the profession is structured and enacted in practice. As a result, well-established boundaries, directions, and priorities may be poorly aligned with existing frameworks. The objective of this study was to explore emerging and future states of paramedicine in Canada such that guiding principles could be derived. We asked: How should paramedicine be conceptualized and enacted in Canada going forward, and, what might be the necessary enablers? Methods: This study involved in-depth one-on-one semi-structured interviews with Canadian paramedicine thought leaders. We used purposive and snowball sampling strategies to identify potential participants. Interview guide questions were used to stimulate discussion about the future of paramedicine in Canada and suggestions for implementation. We used inductive qualitative content analysis as our analytical approach, informed by a constructivist and interpretivist orientation. Results: Thirty-five key informants from across Canada participated in interviews. Ten themes were identified: (1) prioritizing patients and their communities; (2) providing health care along a health and social continuum; (3) practicing within an integrated health care framework, and partnering across sectors; (4) being socially responsive; (5) enacting professional autonomy; (6) integrating the health of professionals; (7) using quality-based frameworks; (8) enacting intelligent access to and distribution of services; (9) enacting a continuous learning environment; and, (10) being evidence-informed in practice and systems. Six enablers were also identified: shift professional culture and identity, enhance knowledge, promote shared understanding of paramedicine, integrate data environments, leverage advancing technology, advance policy, regulation and legislation. Conclusions: Our results provide a conceptual framework made up of guiding principles and enablers that provide a consolidated lens to advance the paramedicine profession in Canada (and elsewhere as appropriate) while ensuring contextual and regional needs and differences can be accounted for.

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Principles to Guide the Future of Paramedicine in Canada