Career Development

What Does a Paramedic Do?

Find out what a paramedic does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a paramedic.

Paramedics are healthcare professionals who provide emergency medical care to patients. They commonly work in ambulances or other specialized vehicles, but they may also be found working in hospitals or other locations where rapid response is critical.

Paramedics have a wide range of responsibilities, from providing basic life support and performing CPR to administering advanced treatments such as intravenous fluids and drugs. They must be able to think quickly on their feet and make split-second decisions when faced with an emergency situation.

Paramedic Job Duties

Paramedics have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Administering oxygen or other breathing treatments to patients who have difficulty breathing
  • Preparing patients for transport by securing them in stretchers and straps and ensuring that they are comfortable during transport
  • Administering medications to patients as ordered by a physician, including injections of antibiotics, insulin, and other drugs
  • Preparing and maintaining equipment used in emergency situations, such as stretchers, backboards, splints, oxygen tanks, and other supplies
  • Recording patient information during an emergency or trauma situation, such as the patient’s name, birthdate, address, allergies, medical history, medications being taken, and chief complaint
  • Responding to emergency calls from hospitals or other medical facilities to transport patients to their destination by ambulance
  • Performing diagnostic testing at the patient’s bedside, such as taking blood pressure or heart rate measurements, checking for fever or other signs of infection, listening to lungs with a stethoscope, or using a stethoscope to listen to heart sounds
  • Providing basic life support, such as administering oxygen or using a defibrillator to treat cardiac arrhythmias
  • Transporting patients to hospitals or other medical facilities,

Paramedic Salary & Outlook

Paramedics’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $52,500 ($25.24/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $70,500 ($33.89/hour)

The employment of paramedics is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

An aging population will lead to an increase in chronic conditions, such as heart disease and strokes, which can cause emergencies that require treatment by paramedics. In addition, an increase in the number of people with access to paramedic services should lead to more calls for emergency medical services (EMS).

Related: In-Depth Paramedic Salary Guide

Paramedic Job Requirements

There are a number of qualifications required to become a paramedic. They include:

Education: Paramedics are required to have a high school diploma or General Education Diploma (GED). Some paramedics choose to earn a two-year associate’s degree in paramedic technology. This degree includes classroom and clinical components and prepares students for the National Registry of EMTs certification exam.

Training & Experience: Paramedics receive most of their training through their educational programs and on-the-job training.

Certifications & Licenses: To work as a paramedic, you will need to earn a certification from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. This certification is the minimum requirement for most paramedic jobs in the U.S.

Paramedic Skills

Paramedics need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Paramedics must be able to communicate effectively with patients, other medical professionals and members of the public. They must be able to explain medical procedures and treatments to patients and their families, and they must be able to relay information about patients to other medical professionals. They also must be able to communicate with members of the public in order to direct them to the appropriate medical facilities.

Time management: Paramedics often have to manage their time effectively to ensure they complete all of their duties in a timely manner. This includes prioritizing tasks and setting goals for themselves. They also use time management skills when responding to emergency calls to ensure they arrive at the scene in a timely manner and provide the necessary treatment.

Critical thinking: Paramedics use critical thinking skills to make decisions quickly in emergency situations. They need to be able to assess a situation and determine the best course of action. This may include making a judgment call about whether to transport a patient to the hospital or wait for an ambulance. Paramedics also use critical thinking skills to determine the best treatment for patients and how to handle medical emergencies.

Physical stamina: Paramedics often walk, run and drive for extended periods of time. They need to have physical stamina to perform their duties, which may include lifting patients and performing CPR.

Empathy: Paramedics often need empathy to help patients feel comfortable and safe. Empathy can also help paramedics communicate with patients and their families during emergency situations.

Paramedic Work Environment

Paramedics work in a variety of settings, including ambulances, helicopters, and in some cases, fire trucks. They also work in hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities. Paramedics typically work long hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays. They may be on call for 24-hour shifts, which means they must be available to work at any time. Paramedics must be able to handle the stress of working in life-threatening situations and be able to make quick decisions. They must also be able to lift and carry patients and equipment.

Paramedic Trends

Here are three trends influencing how paramedics work. Paramedics will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Paramedics

The need for more paramedics is a trend that is being driven by the increasing demand for emergency medical services. As more and more people call 911, the number of paramedics needed to respond will continue to increase.

Paramedics can capitalize on this trend by becoming certified in additional areas, such as trauma or critical care. This will allow them to provide even more valuable services to those who need them most.

More Collaboration Between EMS and Fire Departments

There is a growing trend towards collaboration between EMS and fire departments. This is due to the realization that both professions have much to offer each other in terms of knowledge and experience.

As this trend continues to grow, paramedics will need to be able to work with firefighters in order to provide the best possible care to patients. This requires a strong understanding of both professions and how they work together.

A Greater Focus on Patient Care

As healthcare becomes more complex, paramedics are increasingly being asked to do more than just transport patients to hospitals.

In fact, many paramedics are now responsible for providing patient care throughout the entire transport process. This includes things like monitoring vital signs, administering medications, and providing comfort to patients.

As paramedics are asked to do more, they will need to develop skills and knowledge that allows them to provide high-quality care to patients. This includes learning how to manage complex emergencies and understand the latest medical technologies.

How to Become a Paramedic

A paramedic career offers many opportunities for growth and specialization. You can become a certified paramedic, then move on to become a critical care paramedic or an emergency medical technician supervisor. You can also specialize in areas such as wilderness medicine, tactical medicine, or flight medicine.

No matter what stage of your paramedic career you’re at, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest medical developments and techniques. Read journals and attend conferences to learn about new treatments and technologies. Also, keep up with the latest news in emergency medicine by reading online forums and blogs.

Related: How to Write a Paramedic Resume

Advancement Prospects

Paramedics can advance their careers by becoming certified in a specialty area, such as critical care or emergency medical services. They can also move into management positions, such as supervisor or director of emergency services. Some paramedics may choose to become registered nurses, physician assistants, or even doctors.

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