The role of a paramedic is one that is intensely challenging but also intensely rewarding. If you want a career that doesn’t just make a difference but really is about life and death, then the role of a paramedic is definitely for you.
The role of a paramedic is actually critical because the paramedic is the first healthcare professional who will attend a medical emergency. This means that the paramedic will be the person who attends an accident, deals with the aftermath of a violent incident or medical emergency. They are the people who assess the injuries or illness that someone has and then they make the decision as to which treatment should be given and then they initiate treatment.
They really are the people who make life and death decisions and who operate what is in effect a mobile emergency service.
The medical role of a paramedic is to be part of an ambulance crew who will have an ambulance technician or an assistant to help or to work alone as a First Responder. The paramedic arrives at
an emergency scene and then makes an assessment as to what treatment that person needs, starts the treatment and then ensures that the person is safely transferred to hospital. The paramedic will need to be trained in using highly technologically advanced equipment such as defibrillators (cardiac equipment) or installing drips, administering oxygen or putting spinal splints on a seriously injured person.
The role of a paramedic is therefore extremely technical and paramedics need to be able to assess situations (which by their nature can often be very difficult situations), they then need to assess the patient(s) and also decide which treatment is best and start that treatment as soon as possible. Confidence is required to ensure that the correct decisions are taken and that critical treatment is administered as soon as possible.
Once the patient has been transferred to hospital then the paramedic relates all information about the patient to the emergency treatment team, so there is a liaison role as well.
A paramedic needs a plethora of skills, but technical skills alone are not enough. The role of a paramedic is simply so demanding that there is a need to have very strong interpersonal and communication skills; with empathy thrown in!
The role of a paramedic, by its very nature, requires paramedics to be present in situations that may be frightening or harrowing. People are often scared, alcohol or substance abuse may have taken place and people may be confrontational; even the patient that is being treated may be verbally or physically abusive.
Relatives of the patient may also be angry or extremely upset. The paramedic therefore has to make life saving decisions in situations where they may be being threatened, where safety is an issue (in violent situations or where there is a fire) or where people may be drunk or high on drugs.
Sometimes these situations can be emotionally draining. Thus paramedics need to be firm but fair, to liaise with people who may be extremely worked up or hysterical/abusive/violent, they need to be empathetic with patients and able to liaise effectively with the emergency treatment team.
So the role of a paramedic is extremely skilled and one that requires a variety of skills as well as the ability to multi-task!