'We'd be standing at the nurse's station distracting them and taking up space'

'We'd be standing at the nurse's station distracting them and taking up space'
McKenzie Willamette Hospital created office and lounge space for paramedics.

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Their office: the back of an ambulance, your front door, and the hospital emergency room.

And just like with any job, there is paperwork to be done.

The only problem: at McKenzie Willamette Hospital, there hasn't been enough office space for paramedics.

"A lot of times in the ER it's very busy. So the medics and doctors are doing their work at the same nurse's station, and in the ED it's often very difficult because there are a lot of people around there and a lot of congestion," said Mick Kerrigan, director of emergency services.

This spring the hospital identified the lack of paramedic workspace as a top problem for first responders.

"We'd be standing at the nurse's station distracting them and taking up space," said Joanna Kamppi, chief of emergency medical services for Eugene-Springfield Fire Department. "They have work they need to do, and we have work we need to do. This accomodates both of our needs much better."

"This" is the new paramedics lounge at the hospital. It's more than an office: it's a place where first responders can relax with a cold drink and some cable television inbetween emergency calls.

The new lounge opened Tuesday.