Hometown Paramedic Helps People Stay Healthy
NOTE: The following is part of a series of profiles of paramedics in Nova Scotia. For more information including photos and audio go to http://gov.ns.ca/health/ehs/paramedics/stories.asp .
Steve Menzies of Berwick made the jump from volunteer firefighter to paramedic in February 1988 and hasn't looked back since.
As an intermediate paramedic, he's currently the operations supervisor for Emergency Health Services (EHS) in Berwick, Middleton and Bridgetown. What's most rewarding for him is the opportunity to live and work in the area where he grew up.
He also finds that new challenges and different ways of providing care are what make his job interesting day after day. Recently, he's taken primary health care collaboration certification through both Dalhousie University and Memorial University in Newfoundland. He said this type of care is important for the future of the paramedic profession.
"I see us becoming mobile health care as opposed to just emergency health care, more on the promotion and prevention end of things.
And he's got experience to back that up.
Steve was recently a supervisor working on Long and Brier Islands through the community paramedic program. In the remote rural communities of southwestern Nova Scotia, paramedics partner with a family doctor based on the mainland and a nurse practitioner to offer health services.
He said the experience opened his eyes to the potential for paramedicine beyond emergency health care. What's different, he said, is that it's a knock on the door to do a seniors fall assessment or a blood pressure check rather than rush them away to hospital.
The program has allowed paramedics with expanded scope to offer more within the community. And for Steve Menzies, giving back to the community he grew up in is the reason he got into the profession.
"Growing up here, knowing them and them knowing me, it's quite rewarding," he said. "It’s good that you get to know many of the people but no two days are the same. And there’s not much about the job that’s very routine."
It's the non-routine and ability to respond to just about anything that Steve said Nova Scotians should feel good about when they access care through a paramedic.
"The care that Nova Scotians get from paramedics is state of the art, by highly trained professionals who love their job. We're an emergency room on wheels."
In the future, Steve sees paramedics becoming an expanding health-care resource in the community.
"It can be hard to change people's vision of years gone by when it was just a drive to the hospital. Now there are advanced techniques that we can do for people in their homes and on route to the hospital. Now that it can be done by paramedics if they have to go to hospital, hopefully it will shorten their stay."