“Being a paramedic gives me the most euphoric feeling. The adrenaline rush when I get a call is unlike anything I have ever felt before. It is the best feeling in my life. Each day, I never know what I am going to see, every moment is unique. Like if a mother is going into labour, being there to help deliver a baby, getting to witness their first breath. I can be there on the best day of someone’s life, and the worst day of someone’s life. Being in this profession means that you are always on the edge of your seat, you can’t anticipate what is next.”
Corinne Kershaw has been a paramedic for the past 11 years and currently works for the County of Lambton. She still loves every minute of her job and is extremely passionate about her profession. Every day, Corinne faces the unknown, so when Coronavirus emerged, she knew change was on the way.
“Since the pandemic began, work has become more stressful. Everything is changing on the fly and we must be ready. At first, like everyone else in healthcare, we didn’t know what PPE we needed to wear and when we could wear it. Immediately, we saw a drop in calls and weren’t as busy. You could sense there was a fear in the community.”
Corinne also feared for the safety of her family. In the height of the pandemic, she stayed in their basement. It was difficult to explain why isolation was important during this time to her 3-year-old and 6-year-old children. As a paramedic, she is constantly faced with new threats, dangers, and anxieties. She understands that these challenges come with the job, but when the Ford government announced the first list for the pandemic pay premium, she couldn’t help but feel a little offended.
“Not being included felt like a slap in the face. Of course, paramedics have to deal with patients with COVID-19. When we were added to the second list, I did not want the money for myself. I thought about all the other healthcare workers who needed it and deserved it. I am happy PSWs finally got a wage increase! I have many friends in long-term care homes and they need more recognition and support. LTC employers need to show their appreciation for all their dedicated workers, the work they do is so important.”
For Corinne, it was not about the compensation, it was the lack of knowledge the government had when making changes to the healthcare system. The Ford government needs to know what is happening on the frontlines before determining new policies. Their decisions are not only shaping Ontario’s foundation, but their decisions play an essential role in fighting the Coronavirus.
“Before COVID-19, Doug Ford has his opinion of where he should make budget cuts, which were healthcare and education. Look at where we are now. I hope this pandemic has been a huge eye-opener for him. The people of Ontario need to be healthy and educated. We can not have a province of uneducated people who are not well.”