What Is a Paramedic and How to Become One
Table of Contents
What Do Paramedics Do?
Paramedics are the most highly trained Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and are responsible for providing care to people in emergencies, usually medical or trauma situations. Paramedics are typically first responders at the emergency scene, and their duties may include taking charge, directing people what to do, and performing life-saving measures on patients.
What Do Paramedics Do When Not on Call?
When paramedics are not on call and are off-duty, they live regular lives much like any medical professional. While on-duty but not responding to emergencies, paramedics may be responsible for filling out paperwork about the emergencies they handled, restocking the ambulance, and ordering supplies.
What Is the Difference Between a Paramedic and an Emergency Medical Tech?
While both paramedics and emergency medical techs (EMTs) work on an emergency response team, they have different levels of certification. An EMT is an entry-level patient care provider, while a paramedic is often the most highly trained team member and is often responsible for coordinating the other EMTs at the emergency scene.
Is Paramedic School Difficult?
Before starting paramedic training, you will need to have EMT-Basic certification, which provides the foundation needed. Once you have earned EMT-B certification, you can apply for paramedic school. The requirements for programs can vary greatly, so make sure to research and look into the specific program requirements prior to enrollment. Paramedic school is split into three different phases: the first is the classroom work portion, the second is the hospital clinical portion, where you will be exposed to different areas of the hospital, and the third is the ambulance clinical portion, where you will actually ride around with an ambulance crew.
Paramedic Job Description Sample
With this Paramedic job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember though, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for their Paramedic position.
We are seeking a highly-skilled, experienced paramedic to join our team of first responders. In this position, you will provide pre-hospital emergency care and life support to patients during ambulance transport to a hospital or emergency room. You should be passionate about saving lives, talented with triage, and can remain level-headed in highly stressful situations.
Duties and Responsibilities
- Administer first aid and emergency medical care to ill or injured individuals in prehospital settings
- Drive the ambulance to locations specified by the emergency dispatcher
- Upon arrival on the scene, coordinate with other first responders including fire department personnel and other emergency medical team members
- Assess the presentation of illness or injury to prioritize medical treatment
- Immobilize patients with a backboard or neck brace before placement on a stretcher or in an ambulance
- Transport injured or sick patients to appropriate medical facilities in an ambulance or mobile intensive care unit
- Supervise non-paramedic crew members
- Operate life support equipment such as bag valve mask resuscitators, electrocardiograms (EKGs), and external defibrillators
- Carry out diagnostic and emergency treatment procedures during ambulance transport, including airway management, heart monitoring, and stomach suction
- Provide comfort and reassurance to patients
- Observe the patient’s condition; record treatment details as well as the patient’s response to treatment; report to the physician upon arrival at the hospital
- Communicate with treatment center personnel regarding relevant details about the situation along with patient vital signs and medical history
- Sanitize the interior of the ambulance following treatment of a patient
- Maintain emergency vehicles, communication equipment, and medical equipment; notify supervisors of malfunctions and restocking needs
Requirements and Qualifications
- Completion of a post-secondary paramedic training program
- Certificate or Associate’s degree in emergency medical technology
- Valid driver’s license and a flawless driving record
- Attend continuing education and training classes to stay current with emergency medical advancements and best practices