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Calgarian named Paramedic of the Year

A Calgary paramedic has received national recognition for his years of work on the frontline, and spearheading research to improve patient outcomes.

“I was very surprised, very humbled, and very honoured,” says Ian Blanchard who found out about the award at a staff meeting. “It’s really nice to receive the award and have that recognition from a committee that’s reviewing all these applications. But the other piece for me is to have my colleagues put my name forward, which was very unexpected and was really nice of them.”

Since 1997, Blanchard has spent most of his career trying to increase the amount, and quality, of research paramedics use for their daily practice.

“It’s meant I’ve had to step away quite a bit from frontline clinical work to be able to focus on building this research enterprise that really hasn’t existed until people like myself, and others across the country, started to build it,” he said.

Blanchard has spent a lot of time lately on improving cardiac arrest care and his work has changed CPR training for Alberta paramedics.

Blanchard says small things can make a big difference so there’s now more focus on getting the right rate and depth when doing CPR and providing feedback to paramedics.

“What we’ve been able to do is actually really help focus and equip paramedics with the knowledge to help improve their care. And what we’re seeing is…more patients are surviving,” says Blanchard.

In September, Blanchard will fly to Halifax to accept his award at the Paramedicine Across Canada Expo.

“I’m not the sort of person who likes to get awards, or pat myself on the back,” he said, “so it’s hard to accept an award like this in some respects, because I know there are so many deserving paramedics out there.”

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