Being a paramedic is about a lot more than lights and sirens, and rushing to help someone in need. Paramedics perform clinical procedures, administer drugs, maintain patient records and decide on the most appropriate medical facility where someone should be taken.
Paramedics help people in non-life threatening situations too, from sporting injuries to routine transport between hospitals and health services.
What a Day in the Life of a Paramedic is Like
On any given day, a paramedic may:
Attend medical emergencies and accidents which may require the administration of advanced life support.
Assess, treat and manage the patient’s treatment en-route to hospital.
Perform invasive techniques such as intravenous cannulation, administration of pain-relieving drugs, fluid resuscitation in the trauma setting and advanced airway management.
Lift and place patients on stretchers, load the stretchers into ambulances and transport patients to hospital.
Prepare patient care records and other written reports on the state of a patient’s injuries and the treatment provided.
Triage patients to the most appropriate medical facility.
Provide routine transport for patients from home to hospital and return, e.g. for patients requiring further treatment or specialised treatment such as occupational therapy and chemotherapy.
Perform daily vehicle and equipment checks, making sure that ambulances and medical supplies (including drugs) are accounted for, and that equipment is in good working conditions.
Attend public gatherings such as large sporting events, where accidents or other health emergencies may occur.
Ambulance paramedics work on a rotating roster. The roster covers seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Rosters are provided at least four weeks in advance to ensure adequate planning time.
What it takes to be a Paramedic
There are some key skills you need to be a good paramedic:
A caring and empathetic nature and highly developed communications skills.
The capacity to remain calm, think clearly and act quickly in stressful situations.
Team work and self-reliance.
Adaptability and resilience.
The ability to follow instructions and guidelines.