What does a Paramedic do?
Paramedics typically work as a part of the emergency response team for fire departments, hospitals, ambulatory services, or rescue teams to treat patients at the scene. They work closely with Law Enforcement Officers, Firefighters, and other medical personnel to help those in need of medical assistance. Their job is to reassure patients and talk them through the situation whether they need to set a broken limb, administer an IV or take their vital signs. They may also brief Doctors and Nurses about the patient and their vitals once arriving at the hospital.
Paramedic skills and qualifications
There are important skills and qualifications for Paramedics, which can be learned through education and experience. There are certain skills that are very unique to being a Paramedic including:
- Listening skills to understand the patient’s extent of illness or injury
- Since Paramedics lift, kneel and bend throughout their job, they need to be physically fit
- Communication skills to speak clearly about the situation and procedures to patients and healthcare staff
- Problem solving skills for quickly understanding the patient status and symptoms and for administering required treatment
- Since Paramedics need to provide support to patients in life-threatening situations and under great stress, they should be compassionate
- Interpersonal skills to work in teams and coordinate with others to handle stressful situations.
Paramedic salary expectations
A Paramedic makes an average of $36,781 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.
Paramedic education and training requirements
Paramedics need a high school diploma, and some obtain an associate degree for increased job prospects. Each candidate must obtain a license in the state where they work. CPR certification is a must for Paramedics and is required for postsecondary educational programs in emergency medical areas. These programs range from 1-2 years and are offered in technical schools, community colleges and universities.
These programs teach how to assess a patient’s condition, deal with cardiac and trauma emergencies and clear obstructed airways, among many other skills. Usually, instruction takes about 150 hours, done in an ambulance and hospital setting. Advanced training is around 400 hours and focuses on more complex skills. Once a Paramedic is EMT-certified, therey need to complete 1,200 hours of instruction which can lead to a formal associate or bachelor’s degree.
Paramedic experience requirements
To become a Paramedic, one usually needs to obtain training in a hospital and ambulance setting. These programs usually last a year or two and require hands-on experience assessing a candidate’s ability to handle different emergency situations. Paramedics can also gain experience working in a hospital as a nurse or in other first-responder positions, such as a firefighter or police officer.
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