The province of Alberta is currently facing a shortage of Advanced Care Paramedics.
Rob Barone who is the Associate Executive Director of Alberta Health Services said the north zone which includes nearly 500,000 people serviced by 34 hospitals, a big hurdle is finding staff.
"Since 2009, one of the biggest challenges that we are seeing here is the recruitment of Advance Care Paramedics. In this particular case, it's not so much that it's rural Alberta but its the industry as a whole. We are starting to see less and less Advanced Care Paramedics available throughout Alberta.
As a result, Alberta Health Services has developed a handful of new ideas which includes looking overseas for new paramedics.
"We have found that Charles Stuart University in Australia has a paramedic curriculum very similar to Alberta's. So we approached them in the winter of 2016, we brought 10 paramedic students from Australia to northern Alberta," said Barone.
Currently, the Northern Lakes College in Slave Lake offers the only Advanced Paramedic Program in the region.
"We are working on a provincial hiring strategy in terms Advanced Care Paramedic ratios. We are working with the College of Paramedics and the Mobility Legislation for hiring out of province paramedics into our province. We continue to support the Lakeland College which two years ago launched the first Advance Care Program in northern Alberta," added Barone.
The College will see its first class of ACP students graduate this summer.
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