The work environment for a paramedic has many risks and uncertainties. The manner through which a paramedic manages risk in their work environment determines their success in the profession. The main role of a paramedic revolves around providing pre-hospital care for patients. In the paramedic context, risk refers to the consequences of uncertainty on the objectives (Leonard, 2006). Risk does not necessarily refer to a negative thing; its consequences depend on the outcome of the event. In this case, paramedic risk refers to the likelihood of any event occurring and the consequences of such an event. The consequence in this case only affects a paramedic negatively if the outcomes affect the set objectives.
Any event has both quantitative and qualitative consequences. The qualitative effects refer to a number of events, including injuries within the work environment. Qualitative effects refer to the impact of a single event, such as a minor or catastrophic effect. All workplaces have some risk involved and for this reason, they require paramedics due to the exposure to risk (Leonard, 2006). The concept of paramedic risk management has developed recently. The concept refers to harmonized activities that direct a workplace in relation to risk. The objectives of paramedic include transport and treatment of injured persons.
Paramedic risk management refers to the development of approaches that effect change in the event that the risk occurs within the workplace. The concept of risk management concerning paramedics has now become part of the occupational safety laws (Silvers, 2008). The ideal time to manage risk is before occurrence of the event. Risk management should take place during the development of management objectives. An organization that has knowledge of its objectives can easily develop a risk management plan. Developing a risk management process at such an early stage enables an organization to manage the risk involved in achieving the organization functions.
Through risk management, the organization cushions against human, operational, and financial costs, this may occur in the future. Risk may negatively affect an organization by reducing the productivity of workers who are injured and damage of property when risk occurs. Risk management takes a dynamic form (Silvers, 2008). It requires continuous monitoring to review risk management in a perspective of meeting the required objectives.
Ambulance services provide a good approach for risk management. These services enable an organization to reduce the unforeseen costs. Stakeholders also develop greater confidence towards the organization and the ability to meet its objectives (Silvers, 2008). A risk management program enables the organization to reduce the injuries encountered at work and the unforeseen costs.
The paramedic risk management process has to synchronize with the organization`s plan to manage risk. Management of risk has a number of steps. The first step entails establishing the context of the risk and identifying the potential risks in each context (Youngberg, 2011). The second measure involves analyzing the risk and evaluating it in the context it occurs. The final step entails treating the specific risk. The paramedic team maintains contact with the victims in order to perform monitoring and review of the treatment as well as consultations.
In establishing the context, the organization designs a budget after considering its financial constraints. Other factors in this stage include considering the available equipment and the government regulations regarding paramedic practice. At this stage, both the organization and paramedic team design a timeline for response to injuries (Youngberg, 2011). While establishing the external context, the paramedic team needs to identify the external environment for the organization. That refers to where the organization operates in order to meet its objectives. For the paramedics, the external context involves political and social-cultural perceptions regarding the practice. The external environment in this case also refers to the technological and economic trends.
In the establishment of the internal context, the paramedic team needs to identify the most recent EMS services for patients. They must also consider promoting their image in terms of provision of care and credibility (Youngberg, 2011). An important factor for paramedics to consider entails the response time in risk management. EMS services should have a quick response time and real time feedback system where the patients or victims receive feedback and communicate with the health care providers instantly.
Other roles in risk management include identifying a risk assessment methodology, which enables the paramedic team to define the scope of managing risk. Paramedics should also identify their responsibilities in the risk management process (Leonard, 2006). In serving organizations, the EMS service providers should identify the sources of risk within the workplace. They should also access and maintain the historical records regarding the patients they serve.
A trend in risk management for EMS service providers entails providing solutions for protection against assault for the paramedic teams. Recently, paramedics have received attacks from the patients they transport. The service providers should devise a mechanism to protect their employees. In managing the risk, paramedics should change the source of risk. They should also pursue the opportunities, which reduce the chances of risk occurrence.
Leonard, B. (2006). Special investigation report on emergency medical services operations. Washington, D.C.: National Transportation Safety Board.
Silvers, J. R. (2008). Risk management for meetings and events. Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Youngberg, B. J. (2011). Principles of risk management and patient safety. Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.