January 30, 2018
Kelly Johnston, Senior Communications Specialist
Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary
2500 University Dr. NW
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4
Re: Stroke Poster
Dear Kelly Johnston:
We have a few concerns and a lot of excitement regarding poster in the Calgary Airport featuring a program that, we understand, includes your involvement. The “How do we increase the chances of walking away from a stroke?” poster outlines a significant study that would be of great value to our profession.
The Alberta Paramedic Association (APA), is a representative society working throughout this province in an organized and strategic manner to enhance the skills, knowledge and wellness of the practitioners while promoting an understanding of the profession to the public.
With consideration to the advocacy aspect of our role, we were greatly disappointed to have our profession relegated to being “ambulance drivers” on the University of Calgary poster. Each member of our profession has worked hard to develop an expertise and skill set dedicated to the healthcare profession. In addition, they make extended daily sacrifices– time away from their families and impacts on their lifestyles – to perform this essential work on extreme schedules. To imply the entire skillset is based on “driving” is extremely derogatory and diminishes the profession. We would be more than happy to publicize an apology to those in the profession regarding this misnomer, as the poster has recently been published on Facebook and significant displeasure is being generated.
Despite, the downgrading of our profession within the study information, it is recognized the value results of such learnings can have across the health industry in the province. Having identified the role of paramedics within the prognosis of those who suffer a stroke demonstrates a potential change or improvement in our practice. In the future, the Association would be supportive of working with organizers of such academic initiatives where it has implications on the paramedic profession. Be it for language verification or support of research criteria.
While we appreciate the intent of the poster and the study, it was a significant misstep to refer to those in the paramedic profession as “ambulance drivers” and we hope you will see the benefit of respecting the profession with a removal of the poster and a public apology.
If we as an Association can be of assistance in this or other matters related to our profession, we hope you will reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or 780-904-3619 and perhaps, such inadvertent misunderstandings can be avoided in the future.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Dusty Myshrall, ACP, Flight Paramedic