A Career As A Paramedic
Paramedics often work in pairs. One of the pair takes the role of the leader, while the other has a supporting role as the ambulance driver, emergency care assistant, or emergency medical technician.
However, as a paramedic, there are times when you will work on your own and not with a partner in an ambulance. You might be responding to an emergency on your own by motorcycle, by an emergency response car, by bike, or by being dropped off by an air ambulance helicopter.
There is also an increase in paramedics who are effectively treating patients in their own homes. This is only when hospitalisation is not deemed necessary. This removes some of the demand on limited hospital resources.
According to Alan Simmons from Health Careers, paramedics who received additional training can do a lot of things that paramedics could not do in the past. For instance, they can give medication, conduct urine tests and interpret test results. They can admit patients to special hospital units directly. They can make referrals to social services. These abilities expand the skillset of the paramedic. As a paramedic, you can get involved in many types of situations that might require paramedics, such as event paramedic services.
Characteristics of a Paramedic
The following characteristics and traits will help you succeed in a career as a paramedic:
- Ability to maintain calmness when the environment or situation is chaotic
- Ability to work carefully, quickly, and accurately even in an environment that is volatile
- Ability to quickly process key information
- Ability to maintain a level of self-confidence so you can reassure the patient and others
- Effective in working independently or as part of a team
- Always ready and prepared to face unpredictable situations
Essential Skills For A Paramedic
As a paramedic, certain skills are required in dealing with patients and the public and in driving the ambulance quickly and safely. Among these are:
- Good listening skills
- Good communication skills
- Good organisational skills
- Good driving skills
- Good aptitude in operating machinery or equipment
When you compose your personal statement or need to prepare yourself for an interview, mention these skills that you have. Put them in the context of your past voluntary or work experience. Provide examples of situations where you used these skills.
Becoming A Paramedic
To become a paramedic, you need to register with the Health Care Professions Council, or HCPC. You will need to graduate with honours with a Paramedic Bachelor Degree.
Education and How to Qualify
Your journey begins with a full-time, university-level course of study for a Bachelor of Science Degree in Paramedic Science/Practice. Different universities will have different sets of entrance requirements. As you select where to take this course, check with the university for their entrance requirements.
Right now, you can still apply for a Paramedic Diploma of Higher Education. However, this degree might be in the process of getting phased out. After 2024, this degree will no longer be accepted by the HCPC as a qualification for your registration as a paramedic.
The College of Paramedics states that after the autumn of 2024, the Health and Care Professions Council will only accept the following as qualifications for registration as a paramedic:
- Bachelor of Science Degree in Paramedic Science/Practice: this will fulfil your eligibility to register.
- Paramedic Degree Apprenticeship: although it is accepted, the standards required in this apprenticeship are quite low.
It is also important to point out that without a Paramedic Science/Practice Degree, even if you have a job on the Ambulance Team or in other NHS careers like a position in Patient Transport Service, it will be extremely difficult, even impossible, to move up in the ranks to the level of a paramedic. The Paramedic Science/Practice Degree is essential to your qualifications.