Summary: Paramedics are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) who received the highest form of certification for EMTs. They are medical professionals who work as a part of the emergency medical services in a given area. They provide pre-hospital advanced medical and trauma care before transferring to emergency rooms of hospitals.
Duties: Upon arriving at the scene, paramedics assess the nature and severity of the patient’s condition, while determining any pre-existing medical conditions. They then transport the patient to a medical facility while providing emergency care, making sure to follow set protocols and guidelines. While in transit, they monitor the patient’s vital signs and give additional care when needed. Once they arrive at the medical facility, the paramedic assists in transferring the patient to the emergency department and reports the details and other relevant information to the attending physician. After each run, paramedics document the trip and restock supplies and check to make sure all equipment is in good running condition, in preparation for the next run.
Education and Training Requirements: A high school diploma is usually the minimum requirement to enter a training program to become a paramedic. Training is progressive, with students starting out as basic EMT’s and advancing to Intermediate level. The most advanced level is the Paramedic. The training is commonly conducted in community colleges and often results to an associate degree. Licensing requirements vary by state, and is required to be renewed every two to three years in most cases. Refresher courses or continuing education is also often required.
Knowledge and Skills Requirements: Paramedics should be able to think clearly while under stress. They should also have a driver’s license or in some cases, a helicopter pilot’s license. They should have knowledge in operating equipment used such as backboards, defibrillators, and stethoscopes among others. Paramedics should be emotionally stable, agile, possess good eyesight and can actively listen.
Working Conditions: Paramedics take care of patients in a fast-paced, chaotic, and sometimes, even dangerous environments. They work irregular hours because emergency services function 24 hours a day. They are required to report for work more than 40 hours per week. Work involves lifting, bending, and kneeling. They work both indoors and out, whatever the weather condition maybe. They are at high risk of contracting diseases and experiencing injuries.
Salary: The median salary of a Paramedic is $41,000 per year. This can vary greatly due to nature of employment, location, and experience. Those employed by city or local governments receive benefits, which often include paid vacations and holidays, retirement plans, and health insurance. Paramedics working for private companies may receive lesser benefits.