This evolving role builds on the skills and preparation of the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Paramedic, in which they function outside their customary emergency response and transport roles. The possible services CPs may perform include primary care, public health, disease management, prevention and wellness, such as well baby visits, mental health, oral health services, home assessment, health teaching and consultation, and direct care such as wound management.
Initially, demonstration projects funded through grants supported this role. As interest has grown, so have efforts to recognize the title and practice in statute or regulations. The American Nurses Association (ANA) embraces innovative models that promote the delivery of safe, quality care and allow all members of the healthcare team to function to the full extent of their education and training, and defined scope of practice as inter-professional partners. Given the significant variability in preparation and practice of CPs across the country, ANA is working with the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) community and its’ state nurses associations in an effort to achieve uniformity.
Over the past decade, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has piloted a new role, most often referred to as the Community Paramedic (CP). This expanded role builds on the skills and preparation of the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Paramedic, with the intention of fulfilling the health care needs of those populations with limited access to primary care services. Cuts in public health and community services funding have decimated programs, leaving unmet health needs. In many cases, CPs are filling a gap in services that had been performed by public health and visiting nurses.
ANA's Essential Principles for Utilization of Community Paramedics provides overarching standards and strategies for the Registered Nurse and the Community Paramedic to apply when cooperating in various settings and across the continuum of care. This document seeks to promote common understanding of the Community Paramedic role and clarification of Registered Nurses' expectations of cooperation with this new role.
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