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Release Date: 5/22/2014

Crisis service: thoughts from an Emergency Department paramedic

Catherine “Katie” Wiegand, paramedic at St. Anthony's

Catherine “Katie” Wiegand, paramedic at St. Anthony's

St. Anthony’s staff works closely with paramedics from 26 Emergency Medical Service (EMS) districts, of which six are under the medical center’s control. Did you know St. Anthony’s also employs 10 paramedics in the Emergency Department?

Catherine “Katie” Wiegand, a recent graduate nurse, is one.  She and her nine colleagues have more than 115 combined years of paramedic experience. During EMS Week, May 18 through 24, she shared her thoughts:

What is the role of an ED paramedic?

In the ED, the paramedic’s main job is nursing support and response on the Time-Critical Diagnosis Team, similar to the role of a R.N. Outside of the ED our scope is more advanced, due to the absence of a physician. We must be skilled in advanced procedures such as intubations, needle decompression and surgical airways. I think the ED experience makes us better "road" medics because we also have an understanding of what to expect from receiving facilities and things we can do to improve the overall patient experience and outcomes.

What are the challenges in your job?

I think (and most of my colleagues would agree) that working in the ED is less challenging than being on-scene in the pre-hospital setting, due to the availability of resources and being in a "controlled" environment. However, at times the ED can be more emotionally involved, as more time is spent with the patient and family at a difficult time.

Why did you choose to become a paramedic?

I love helping people and wanted to make a difference in my community. I love multi-tasking and my best work is performed under pressure. In this job I learn something new every day. The high energy and stress are what make it exciting:  no two days are the same.

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