Our New Provincial Office
15 Toronto Street, 8th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M5C 2E3


Medical First Responder vs First Aid Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

StJohnOnline.ca / CadetsOnline.ca » Active Discussions - All Members » Medical First Responder vs First Aid « Previous Next »

Author Message
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

J
New member
Username: Scottishmuppet

Post Number: 1
Registered: 07-2011
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 - 01:55 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi, I have read through a number of threads relating to this topic and how it affects daily duties such as simple terminology to signage, uniform and vehicles.

I have a couple of comments and questions which I hope may give some clarity, ideas and so on.

My background is in both business marketing/brand management and EMS and has been in three continents including various St John jurisdictions. So I make my comments and suggestions, not necessarily from my own ideas, but in some cases from other agencies or St John priories and business cases outside of the EMS world.

1. Medical First Responder vs First Aid

As a term, SJA UK introduced this as a way of moving away from first aid because of the mindset many people have in that it appears very amateur where as many SJA members are trained to higher levels MFR, Nurse, Doctor, Paramedic, to name a few.

First Aid has been shown, in and out of SJA, to cause problems with both recruiting or retaining higher skilled individuals (a field trauma doctor doesn't want a label that says first aid) and also with EMS who may look down on first aiders.

Much of this is perception however in areas such as SJA Canada, there is little known by the public about what we do, same goes for many EMS services. We cannot rely on current SJA promotions to correct this as they have done in other jurisdictions such as Australia, New Zealand, UK.

Medical First Responder may not be the most accurate term but it is important to note, first responder is not someone who responds to 911 emergency calls. It is someone who responds to an emergency. SJA volunteers do that, whether it is at the request of an SJA dispatcher, a community first responder or someone asks for assistance and the member walks over.


2. Vehicle Design and Use of First Aid

First, a question: why do some of the newer green design vehicles say St John First Aid and others say Medical First Response? I've seen this in a few Ontario divisions.

My comment: I see plenty of comments back and forth as to why the vehicles should say one thing or the other. My thought is that this appears to be a problem we have created on our own and is unnecessary.

I suggest we remove that labelling entirely.

Have the "St John Ambulance" logo on the side.

It is a St John Ambulance vehicle, it will draw attention to the brand and the identity of the operator. I don't think we need to state that the vehicle has a particular purpose.

If you do a Google Image search for St John Ambulance UK and look at the various styles of vehicle that is operated there, they do not say anything like first aid or medical first response on them. They simply have St John Ambulance.

There are larger vehicles such as modified buses etc that have been made specifically for command posts or mobile first aid posts and they are labelled accordingly. That makes sense. But generally, I think we should just get rid of the large red lettering.


3. St John First Aid

I have two points on this choice of wording.

From a branding and corporate perspective, we are St John Ambulance. This confuses the brand and is the wrong identity. I am very surprised at whoever is responsible for the brand management permits this.

The other is that this yet again enforces the misunderstanding that EMS and the public has of SJA volunteers. SJA provides first aid training for the public and these vehicles should not be used to promote that, but instead promote the entity as a whole and recognize the skills and service our members provide.

In Scotland, SJA opted to leave and transfer responsibilities over to St Andrews Ambulance Service. This service operates exactly the same as SJA Canada does.

Due to an internal dispute and various comments from the Scottish Ambulance Service who provides priority response services to emergency calls, they opted to change their name to St Andrews First Aid.

In a very short time after making this brand identity decision it resulted in a few things:

1. Every single member who held a skill level higher than the MFR equivalent, such as nurse or paramedic, left as they didn't want to be associated with an amateur first aid group.

2. EMS providers took the understanding that all the members were first aiders and held no higher level of skills. First aider being someone who can apply a band aid or a sling.

3. The organization's overall membership dropped significantly because of the lack of respect and therefore lack of interest for new people joining.

4. To combat the declining enrollment they reduced the requirements to get in, removing many skills that SJA UK previously held in Scotland such as entonox admin, blood sugar level checking, drug administration, something that has also been held back from SJA Canada members. The objective was to make it easier for people to join, the side affect was a continued lack of respect and now, more rightly so, from EMS of their members.

I can see this heading the same way for SJA Canada with the various decisions being made regarding using the terms First Aid, hiding the fact that our organization has the word Ambulance in it, reducing abilities of members in the field.


Please feel free to comment, disagree, provide perspective.

(Message edited by scottishmuppet on July 11, 2011)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Michael Pellerin Huffman
New member
Username: Meph

Post Number: 5
Registered: 05-2011
Posted on Sunday, July 31, 2011 - 04:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I do agree with the "st john first aid" being a phrase that should be avoided. However I feel that "medical first response" in red lettering does allow the public to recognize that we are more then standard first aiders, which is an issue I have had in the past. In the past I have had members of the public and officials at events, such as the Mostport Speedway competitions, comment that we are simply standard first aiders. When i explained that we are Advanced Medical First Responders and have training beyond Standard First Aid and pointed out the "Medical First Response" on the vehicle they're confidence in our services seemed to improve. I agree that there should be standardization if there is not already and that "st john first aid" should be avoided. However i feel that the "Medical First Response" should remain.

Mike Pellerin Huffman
Chief
Northumberland MFRU
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jim
New member
Username: Scottishmuppet

Post Number: 3
Registered: 07-2011
Posted on Sunday, July 31, 2011 - 07:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks Mike. I can see where you are coming from.

Whatever the wording is or design symbolizes is what SJA will be associated with. If it says First Aid then that is the level people feel we will be providing, not the mfr, paramedic, nurse, doctor levels we have on staff.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Michael Pellerin Huffman
Junior Member
Username: Meph

Post Number: 6
Registered: 05-2011
Posted on Sunday, July 31, 2011 - 09:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

very true jim. While we are providing "first aid", we are still providing a health care provider level of first aid. having medical first responder on the vehicles recognizes that, as do the two orange stripes on our epaulets (which of course the public would not be able to recognize,). so as ive said, i think that MFR should be the standard, as to my understanding it is. my guess is that those that put "st john first aid" is doing so without permission of council. perhaps there should be some more supervision when it comes to the replacement of the graphics on the vehicles. in the past few years we had all of our vehicles' graphics redone. when we did so the standards were sent to us and it was up to us to get it done. basically we gave the standard to the graphics company and they followed it to the letter. perhaps others are making "executive decisions above they're pay grade" which is what gets us all into trouble. perhaps when vehicles' graphics are redone, pictures of the finished product should be sent to someone for approval. if something isnt correct, it would be up to that branch to make the correction as they know the standard and it is up to them to follow it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Rob Trevisanutto
New member
Username: Rtrevisa

Post Number: 1
Registered: 07-2011
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 08:24 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Michael,

The reason why some units are branded with SFA as opposed to MFR is that the new identity policy came out with different versions which resulted in the first batch using SFA. However, the decals have been updated and have switched over exclusively to MFR for Ontario.

It should be noted that while the visual identity is the same across Canada, there are some provincial differences in wording. For instance, all of Council for Ontario MFAP's use the MFR while some vehicles in western provinces use the SFA. Reasons include municipal legislation as well branding that better defines the community service aspect of the patient care units.

Additionally, the ideology that an MFR is HCP while an SFA is not is ridiculous. Neither are really HCP; rather, they fall under the generic term of emergency prehospital care.

In short, actions speak louder than words. Being able to lead by example through exceptional training, good hygiene, and a crisp appearance will far outshine the perceived negative implication that the phrase 'first aid' may have.

I hope this helps,
Rob T
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Michael Pellerin Huffman
Junior Member
Username: Meph

Post Number: 7
Registered: 05-2011
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 09:01 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

i do not wish to start an argument, and i am not going to, and i would agree that we fall under "generic emerg prehospital care". that said, however, as an amfr we are trained to CPR level HCP, and in uniform we have a duty to respond, making us HCP. Also, if you read the first couple of paragraphs of the new f/a book for HCP, it has the definition of HCP which, with our qualifications as an amfr, we meet. i am not trying to over step or glorify what we are. we are not doctors, or paramedics, or any health care professional (strictly as an amfr without further training). however by definition we are HCP.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Michael Pellerin Huffman
Junior Member
Username: Meph

Post Number: 8
Registered: 05-2011
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 09:05 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

on another note: i did not realize that the branding had been switched over, and i am glad that it has. this eliminates some of the confusion the public has which is a benefit for all
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Rob Trevisanutto
New member
Username: Rtrevisa

Post Number: 2
Registered: 07-2011
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 09:26 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I fail to see how 'duty to act' implies that you are a HCP?

The duty to act comes into play since you are a uniformed member of a patient care unit whose job description is to provide first aid. This applies to MFR and SFA. However, if you're out in public wearing your own clothing, you DO NOT have a duty to act.

Additionally, just because the name of your CPR is called HCP, that does not make you a health care professional. Much like how wearing tac pants does not make you a Paramedic.

The service provided by SJA and its volunteers is invaluable and has undoubtedly saved the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of Canadians.

I say this not in an attempt to marginalize SJA, nor discredit the efforts of its volunteers, but for the sake of being true, and by definition: SJA is not a HCP organization- simply check with the MoHLTC as well recognized definitions.

-Rob T

(Message edited by rtrevisa on August 01, 2011)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jim
New member
Username: Scottishmuppet

Post Number: 4
Registered: 07-2011
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 09:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A lot of my point regarding putting First Aid in big red letters on vehicles and creating the new term "St John First Aid" - seen on new uniforms, bicycles, vehicles - is a mistake when it comes to brand positioning.

I go back to my comment earlier about the need to state anything on vehicles/uniforms. Look at SJA UK or other SJA priories. It simply says St John Ambulance - go with that - forget about First Aid or MFR or anything else.

I have heard comments before about legislation meaning MFR can't be used on certain vehicles etc. So far I have only heard this and have never seen anything to show this legislation actually exists including in Ontario, Alberta and BC where there is no such problem with the laws and BC has a unified ambulance service with a very clear agreement of understanding between them and SJA which says nothing about vehicle decals yet all vehicles in BC are switching over to St John First Aid. Executive decision is probably right.

Trying to ensure we have a good working relationship with paramedics where they feel we only perform basic first aid is a constant problem in certain areas. It is also a barrier to many who are paid professionals, such as nurses, doctors and paramedics, who do not want to be labelled as first aiders which includes children/youth memebers/cadets.

In many SJA provinces in Canada there is minimal distinction in the uniform to show further training and epaulets with symbols, colours and stripes mean nothing to most outside of SJA.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Michael Pellerin Huffman
Junior Member
Username: Meph

Post Number: 9
Registered: 05-2011
Posted on Tuesday, August 02, 2011 - 03:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Rob: i think you should re-read my response, i said nothing about being in plain clothes and duty to respond. Also i did not say anything about us being health care PROFESSIONALS, i was referring to us as health care PROVIDERS. i have always been told that we are, both at my branch since i have been a member, also at the AMFR Course. perhaps we are using a more generic definition then the MoHLTC (such as: "Health Care Provider: a person who helps in identifying or preventing or treating illness or disability")

Jim: when you put it that way, i would have to agree with you. i do like what the UK sja vehicles look like. however it is hard to question they're qualifications when you see them driving down the street with lights and sirens. also, it would eliminate the restriction of non-amfr's driving the vehicles alone. for example, our branch manager would like to use the vehicle for sja business (mail, errands etc). however cant because she is not an AMFR, and our vehicles say "medical first response". if it simply said "st john ambulance" nothing more she would not have that problem, same with our therapy dog members. i suppose i can make arguments for both sides
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jim
New member
Username: Scottishmuppet

Post Number: 5
Registered: 07-2011
Posted on Wednesday, August 03, 2011 - 12:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi Michael,

I didn't think of it like that. I am aware some branches have vehicles for volunteers to take to events and some vehicles for branch members to use for other purposes. This seems a bit silly and really a vehicle should be available to any member.

It is unlikely a branch member is going to deliver mail in an ambulance, but instead perhaps use an SUV or mini-van. If the wording on the side makes it appear it is for emergency response then that could be very misleading and look bad if they drove by an emergency scene such as a car crash without attending.

Making them generic with no first aid and no medical response references would be good for the reason you said amongst many other reasons.

However, my main complaint is still forefront in my mind and that is not wanting SJA to be associated with the term First Aid due to the negative connotations it carries including the opinions of paramedics and firefighters who attend scenes and think all we are capable of is bandaids and slings.

This is something I have run up against on a regular basis and our most obvious effort at branding is our vehicle design and it is simply supporting this stereotype.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jim
Junior Member
Username: Scottishmuppet

Post Number: 6
Registered: 07-2011
Posted on Wednesday, August 03, 2011 - 12:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The orange bars on the epaulets and term Medical First Responder on shoulder flashes / uniform / vehicles is only used in Ontario.

In other parts of the country SJA does not do anything to make a distinction between AMFR members and non-AMFR.

Also, ID cards in the rest of the country do not say Medical First Responder they say First Aid Volunteer.

(Message edited by scottishmuppet on August 03, 2011)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jordan E. Nowlan
New member
Username: Jenowlan

Post Number: 1
Registered: 09-2011
Posted on Monday, September 05, 2011 - 09:13 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hello Jim,

Actually here in New Brunswick, our ID cards do say Medical First Responder Volunteer and not First Aid Volunteer. As for all the talk on the Trucks, You should all consider yourselves lucky, here our Provincial Council had the bright Idea of using the New Ford Transit Connect as a "First Aid Post" , It is a waste of money and brings SJA NB in a major Step Backwords. Let me know what you think. A photo is posted on our facebook page; St. John Ambulance New Brunswick. We are all AMFR1 Trained, but PHQ is now allowing SFA trained auxiliary members to provide basic care under supervision of an AMFR1 or higher.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jim
Junior Member
Username: Scottishmuppet

Post Number: 7
Registered: 07-2011
Posted on Monday, September 05, 2011 - 01:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi Jordan,

I notice in your photos most of your members do not wear uniform beyond the hi-vis vest. Is that normal for NB?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jordan E. Nowlan
New member
Username: Jenowlan

Post Number: 2
Registered: 09-2011
Posted on Monday, September 05, 2011 - 05:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi Jim,

Yes, Uniforms are not mandatory with the exception of the vest, I have for the past two years worn a full uniform. NB is for certain a major step backwards from the days we use to run Ambulance Calls and Patient Transfers prior to 1996.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jim
Junior Member
Username: Scottishmuppet

Post Number: 8
Registered: 07-2011
Posted on Monday, September 05, 2011 - 05:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

That is unfortunate, however not surprising given the general direction leadership from coast to coast has been taking the organization.

I've heard comments from decision makers that uniform is antiquated and not in keeping with the times. However, my belief is that uniforms are practical, helps identify us, and promotes our professionalism. The day EMS/Police/Fire stop wearing uniforms I will reassess that opinion.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Michael Pellerin Huffman
Junior Member
Username: Meph

Post Number: 10
Registered: 05-2011
Posted on Monday, September 05, 2011 - 07:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jim: agreed.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jordan E. Nowlan
New member
Username: Jenowlan

Post Number: 3
Registered: 09-2011
Posted on Tuesday, September 06, 2011 - 05:49 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Agreed, Our PHQ has however set out some guidelines for those who do wish to wear a uniform, They may wear a White, Red or Navy Blue/Black Shirt, Navy Blue/Black Cargo Trousers or EMT Pants, with or without reflective striping. We Must at all times wear our reflective vest/Jacket. PHQ's reasoning behind this is that a member can be called upon last minute do cover an event and they only have to bring there vest and Trauma Kit and meet up with the Truck on location. No need to put a uniform on. I always wear my uniform, wich consists of a Navy Blue Uniform Shirt with SJA MFR/PRM patches, Navy Blue NB EMT trousers with 2" reflective stripes on each leg over a 4" High visibility yellow stripe, Black boots, and SJA Ball Cap. Most of are devoted members do wear a similar uniform, it just varies between a Navy or White Shirt, I prefer Navy because our Paramedics in NB wear white shirts, this helps in distinguishing us from them. when all of us are working an event in uniform, it does help with team work and confidence as well.

Add Your Message Here
Post:
Bold text Italics Underline Create a hyperlink Insert a clipart image

Username: Posting Information:
This is a private posting area. Only registered users and moderators may post messages here.
Password:
Options: Enable HTML code in message
Automatically activate URLs in message
Action:

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration