Paramedicine is the provision of prehospital and out-of-hospital emergent, urgent, and preventive medical care that may include assessment, treatment, and transport with ground ambulances or air medical services.
In most countries, paramedicine is provided by trained providers who are authorized, credentialed, or licensed by governments at the employer, local, state, provincial, regional, or national level to provide medical care to patients. The level of training and scope of practice for these providers are determined by the governmental agency with jurisdiction over emergency medical services in the specified area in which the provider practices.
In some countries, paramedicine is provided by paramedics and emergency medical technicians. In other countries, it is provided by physicians or nurses. Some countries use a combination of these providers. In some countries, physician EMS medical directors provide oversight to non-physician out-of-hospital providers. In other countries, non-physician out-of-hospital providers are licensed to practice independently of a physician.
Competencies in paramedicine
For all professions, competency is defined as proficiency in the knowledge, attributes, and skills required to work in a specialized area or profession. Competency is being adequately or well qualified to perform the responsibilities of the position.
In the field of paramedicine, the scope of practice is often defined by government authorities or recognized organizations vested with the responsibility of credentialing or licensing those who work in the field. Many countries have more than one scope of practice for those working in paramedicine. Different scopes of practice are developed based upon the tasks and responsibilities of the positions.
The best way to ensure that established competencies are understood and achieved is through a comprehensive program of initial and continuing education, and by performance evaluation through standardized objective measurements that are valid and reliable.