A year ago, I, like many others, thought we would be sending staff home to work for a few weeks while the COVID situation unfolded and the appropriate responses were created. Little did any of us think or realize just how much of an effect we would have to deal with in both our professional and personal worlds.
It is undeniable the changes we’ve had to deal with and overcome in the past 12 months. From strict health measures that changed the way we work and shop to physical restrictions on how we socialize, travel and access services; we’ve all been touched by the effects of COVID 19.
The first dramatic change we experienced was the virtual Annual Members’ Meeting. We are so pleased to have been able to facilitate such an easy transition to a more cost-effective way of keeping members informed of the highlights of the College’s activities and be able to respond to so many members’ questions in real time.
Another of the notable, lasting changes the College has made in response to the challenges presented by COVID was the move to approve the COPR examinations as the approved registration exam for the College. When this decision was made in June last year, the ACP and PCP exams were already established, and I’m excited to be able to share that COPR will be kicking off their first EMR exam this spring. While this is a change for many, it is a move that has the potential to create a much more unified evaluation structure for the profession across the country.
The most recent change we are all excited to hear about was the expansion of eligibility that now permits regulated members (ACPs, PCPs and EMRs) to qualify for the COVID vaccine. When we think about last year this time, and all of the uncertainty about our health, the health of our loved ones and the health of our patients; the news of regulated members being eligible for the vaccine is a move in a very positive direction. We are pleased to be able to work with AHS to help coordinate this initiative and enable members to receive their vaccine appointments.
In keeping with current recommendations, our staff also continue to work from home. While a significant shift from our social, office environment, we have employed different methods for keeping in touch and continue to do the important work of regulating the profession. Our meetings have shifted to virtual video conferences, and our work is now largely shared through online platforms. We appreciate the patience of all members as we worked through some technological challenges, but we all remain committed to serving the public and the paramedic profession.
These are just some of the challenges we’ve experienced; and I know more are yet to come as we hopefully get back to normal life in the very near future. What I hope shines through in the situations outlined above is that now that we’re on the other side of them, we’ve shown our adaptability and ability to persevere. As practitioners, undoubtedly you have all faced your own trials and have continued to faithfully serve patients unfailingly. Thank you to each and every one of you for being out there, providing excellent care to Albertans through the last 12 months of … craziness (is there really any other word??).