Paramedic Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a paramedic. Feel free to use our job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a paramedic.
Who is a Paramedic?
A paramedic is a well-trained, talented, and detail-oriented healthcare professional whose major role is to provide expert emergency medical care to patients in the emergency medical unit with life-threatening wounds and critical conditions. The level of how well they administer their services go a long way in preserving life or causing death. They are among the most important personnel in healthcare facilities.
Paramedics in certain countries make decisions independently without directions from other healthcare staff. In countries like the United Kingdom and South Africa, paramedics are autonomous healthcare professionals. Although paramedics exist in Germany and France, they majorly assist the physicians in carrying out their duties.
Literally speaking, all ambulance personnel are not paramedics. Paramedics have a wide scope of practice and advanced educational qualifications, training, and requirements than emergency medical technicians. Also, paramedics have more responsibility than emergency medical technicians. In some establishments, paramedics go as far as expanding their practice into the provision of basic assessment services and primary health care.
In recent times, the paramedics’ profession has evolved from being providers of emergency treatment and ambulance drivers to mobile healthcare providers. As a result of this evolution, paramedics can be seen working in multiple settings such as Accident and Emergency (A&E), injury units, general practice, intensive care units, offshore and remote establishments, and in telecare health sectors. In some of these sectors, paramedics frequently carry out professional clinical evaluations and take full responsibility for the care provided to the patients, including discharge. In addition, paramedics are regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council.
The specification of this profession goes beyond transporting patients to the hospital. They offer advanced medical treatments, prescribe specific medications, and refer patients with special critical conditions to the hospital unit where they will be attended to.
Moreso, paramedics spend most of their time in ambulances with the technicians, where they offer important medical services with emergency treatment equipment like ventilators and oxygen masks, to aid resuscitation and ease respiration. They also dress and clean minor and major injuries. Some emergency health conditions they treat include diabetic shock, accident trauma, heart attack and stroke, breathing difficulties, emergency childbirth, serious allergic reactions, and drugs.
Asides from being professional emergency health trainers, they have great driving skills. They also go as far as writing incident reports to the higher authority to ensure accountability. However, since paramedics work majorly in the emergency and intensive care units, they are prone to certain experiences that could threaten their health if not well managed. Besides, being a paramedic is not supposed to be a risky venture.
Some of the experiences they encounter include;
- Exposure to harsh chemicals and products like nitrous oxide, opioids, halothane, and ethyl chloride
- Exposure to patients, needles, and instruments infected with contagious diseases
- Possible allergic reactions to continuous use of latex gloves and certain harsh chemicals
- Exposure to high temperatures
- Physical tasks that require force and staying in awkward positions like standing for a long period, thereby causing internal injuries like musculoskeletal disorders, sciatica, and so much more
- Risk of injury from places with large crowds, shaky and rough surfaces, gasoline explosion, fire, extreme violent conditions, and potential heart conditions from exposure to toxic gases
- Potential vehicle accidents from sudden brakes, high speeds, bad weather situations, and collisions.
- Risk of fall from hurrying to carry a patient on a stretcher
- Potential psychological stress and trauma from critical and extreme conditions of patients.
- Embarrassment from dealing with rude and depressed patients.
Inasmuch as most of these experiences are unavoidable, there are ways to reduce the risk. Some of the health and safety techniques that could be employed include:
- Hand washing
- Careful selection and use of syringes
- Appropriate and consistent use of personal protective gear and instruments like overalls, nose masks, and others
- Knowledge of how to use fire safety equipment like fire extinguishers and sand buckets
- Quick identification of hazards
- Showing proper understanding, care, and endurance to rude patients
- Adhering to the establishment’s safety rules and safe housekeeping procedures
In addition, we’ll be looking at all other essential information about a paramedic, as well as their job description, in this article. Stay focused and have an insightful read!
Details of What a Paramedic Does
- Cardiac Support: Paramedics are medical personnel that helps perform cardiac support on patients with critical conditions who are having a heart attack or heart failure, after which a proper x-ray examination is carried out to identify the exact cause of the attack and the best treatment to be administered.
- Emergency respiratory routine: Since these health professionals are in the emergency unit, they aid patients with blocked air passages to breathe easily by performing the usual emergency routine. Asides from normal mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, they also administer oxygen to deeply unconscious patients. They employ airway management techniques such as rapid sequence induction, sterile imbalance, use of magil forceps, and manual removal of obstructions from the larynx directly.
- Wound dressing: The paramedics help dress the wounds of accident patients with bandages and plaster. This act is just a mere first aid treatment administered on the injured patient before proper medical examination and tests are carried out to check for internal bleeding.
- Head and neck injuries: They help to stabilize the excessive flow of blood caused by the neck, nose, and head injuries. This act goes a long way in preventing blood clotting, thus preserving the patient’s life.
- Broken and fractured bones: Although paramedics are not physiotherapists, they help to stabilize broken and fractured bones pending when the victim is transported to the appropriate health unit to receive treatment.
- Administer Intravenous fluids: In order to quickly save the life of a patient with a critical condition, they administer a dose of medicine (IV fluids) to the patient through the vein. Most times, this drip helps to keep the patients numb and oblivious to pain.
- Resuscitate drowning victims: Some paramedics work in water companies and help drowning victims regain consciousness. This is why it is important to employ the services of paramedics in cruise ships and ocean rescue teams.
- Emergency childbirth: Paramedics carry out emergency childbirth procedures on pregnant women in need of urgent attention. This is mostly done when a pregnant woman is involved in a drastic accident and is on the verge of dying. Performing this procedure helps to save the life of the child and mother. However, in some cases, the mother may die due to excessive bleeding.
- Administer medications: Parademics administer medications to patients in need of urgent attention, in order to stabilize them and minimize their pains. Patients with stroke attacks and cardiac arrest should be administered pain-relieving medications.
- Assess health conditions: As well-trained personnel, paramedics examine the health conditions of emergency patients to detect the issues they are experiencing and send them to the appropriate health unit as required. For instance, an accident victim with an injured head should be referred to the Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) department for intense examination.
Paramedic Job Description
Below are the paramedic job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a paramedic job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
- Responding to 999 emergency calls and radio transmissions.
- Transporting patients safely in an ambulance to and from treatment centers and any other predetermined location.
- Providing first aid treatment to sick and injured patients.
- Providing emergency medical assistance like applying a bandage or plaster to a wound, based on the severity of the injury.
- Administering other forms of pre-hospital emergency care.
- Examining a patient’s health condition to determine the best course of treatment.
- Transferring patients with critical health conditions to other healthcare facilities for urgent attention.
- Providing written reports and discussing the kind of medical treatment that was given to patients from the point of arrival, and the patients’ reactions to doctors and nurses.
- Buying, replacing, and cleaning inventory supplies and equipment.
- Providing personal home care for patients that cannot be hospitalized.
- Assessing the surroundings of patients and administering CPR to stabilize unconscious patients.
- Reporting incidences of infectious diseases to the appropriate authorities to ensure proper and intensive treatment is administered.
- Decontaminating and cleaning the ambulance after transporting patients with contagious diseases to prevent further spread.
- Administering the appropriate drugs, oxygen, and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as deemed necessary or as directed by the physician.
- Coordinating the dispatchers and other emergency medical personnel as needed to ensure that all team members are ready to receive patients and administer proper treatment at the emergency.
- Communicating in a friendly, caring, and understanding way with patients and their relatives.
- Training and teaching members of the public on how to administer first aid treatment correctly, in order to preserve the lives of accident victims.
- Monitoring patients’ condition and response to treatment while transporting them to other medical units for more treatment.
- Working according to laid down medical procedures, as well as health and safety standards, and legal guidelines.
- Administering cardiac life support, cardioversion, and defibrillation
- Having up-to-date knowledge of medical protocols and new treatments through continuous training.
- Counseling depressed patients and offering mind therapy, if possible.
Qualifications and Requirements
- High school diploma or its equivalent
- Degree in paramedic science
- EMS license
- CPF certificate
- EMT-P certificate
- Valid driving license and a good driving record that complies with AMR Driving and Safety Policy
- More than one year of paramedic experience
- Certificate from the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
- Free record from security and criminal allegations
- Medical examination
- Previous volunteering experiences can be an added advantage
- Quick and effective decision-making skills
- Ability to apply positive pressure ventilation through a ventilator or mask-valve-bag.
- Shock management and resilience
- Ability to navigate medical devices and equipment
- Strong communication skills
- Understanding and caring for others
- Ability to remain at ease under pressure and amidst crisis
- Ability to stay physically fit and alert
- Commitment and focus
- Driving and navigation skills
- Sustained exertion to look after patients with critical conditions
- Teamwork and creativity
- Great problem-solving skills and ability to navigate difficult situations.
How to Become a Paramedic
Asides from the completion of a postsecondary educational program with a pass in at least 4 subjects, a paramedic must acquire a license and certificate from EMT as an EMT-B. EMT-B is the primary and basic level of EMT training. It usually takes about five to six months to complete the training, after which you’ll have to take a certification test. Some paramedic programs require you to have worked as an EMT. However, states have varied requirements.
To fully qualify to practise as a paramedic, you must first complete study a course in paramedic science and obtain a Bachelor’s degree, or apply as an apprentice and acquire a Paramedic Apprenticeship Degree. Afterward, you’ll need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) to obtain a certificate. Some employers require the paramedics to be employed to possess an HNC, HND, or BTEC.
Then, you can go ahead and apply as a professional paramedic to any ambulance service or healthcare center of your choice.
Generally, the educational requirements to become a paramedic are rigorous. Many community colleges have four-year degree programs in paramedic training. Oftentimes there’s a condition to complete college-level math, English, and biology in order to qualify into the paramedic program. The curriculum comprises both medical and classroom training at fire departments, aviation industries, ambulance departments, and health centers.
Usually, Paramedic degree programs take up to four years. These science and health-based courses include both practical work and theory. Also, during the apprenticeship, the tutees are placed with the ambulance services.
Where to Work
Paramedics work full time, including weekends in several environments. Some of which include:
- Individual homes
- Aviation industries (air rescue transport team)
- Private companies
- Firefighting teams
- Sports teams
- Private paramedical agencies
- Police Operations teams (S.W.A.T teams) and armed forces
- Public and private ambulance services
- Water industries (ocean rescue teams and cruise ships)
- Overseas health departments
- Oil drilling platforms and companies
- Prison departments
Paramedics Salary Scale
The average yearly wage for Paramedics is approximately between $35,000 to $45,000.
Even though these earnings are somewhat meagre compared to other jobs. However, the main motive of paramedics is not to earn money, but to assist people with critical health conditions.