The role of a Paramedic

Paramedics provide an immediate response to emergency medical 999 calls. They are usually the first senior healthcare professional on the scene and they are responsible for assessing a patient’s condition and providing treatment and care prior to hospital admission.

The the role of a paramedic including treatment may include:

  • resuscitating and stabilising a patient
  • using high tech equipment such as a defibrillator
  • applying spinal and traction splints
  • administering intravenous drips, drugs and oxygen

the role of a paramedic - work activities

The role of a paramedicA paramedic’s day will always be different as they constantly have a new set of patients who can be suffering from a range of illnesses. Even if some illnesses become more prevalent at certain times of the year, there will still be variation in the work as each patient with the same illness will have a different scenario. As a paramedic, you could deal with a range of situations, from minor wounds to serious injuries caused by a major road or rail accident. Your job would be to provide immediate care or treatment.

Although the work is diverse there are some regular tasks, which include:

  • responding to 999 calls for medical assistance at accidents, emergencies and other related incidents, usually in an ambulance with an ambulance technician or emergency care assistant to help
  • assessing the condition of patients who are injured or taken ill suddenly
  • providing an immediate course of treatment en route to hospital or on scene
  • applying splints to limbs, dressing wounds, administering pain relief, oxygen, drips and fluids
  • using highly technical equipment, including ventilators to assist breathing and defibrillators to treat heart failure, in order to resuscitate and stabilise patients
  • carrying out certain surgical procedures when necessary, such as intubation (insertion of a breathing tube)
  • monitoring the patient’s condition
  • assessing whether and how to move patients and, where appropriate, the best location to transport them to
  • liaising with members of other emergency services, such as the police, fire brigade or coast guard and other ambulance services to ensure the appropriate level of response is provided
  • dealing with members of the public and family members present at the scene
  • driving and crewing an ambulance or other rapid response vehicle
  • cleaning, decontaminating and checking vehicles and equipment to maintain a state of operational readiness
  • assisting with patient care in hospitals or health care centres
  • producing thorough case notes and reporting the patient’s history, condition and treatment to relevant hospital staff

The role of a paramedic will include attending emergencies including minor injuries, sudden illness, and casualties arising from road and rail accidents, criminal violence, fires and other incidents. They are usually in a two-person ambulance crew with the other crew member being an ambulance technician or emergency care assistant who helps them. Some will work alone however, using an emergency response car, motorbike or bicycle to get to a patient.

Useful Links:

How to become a paramedic
Information from the College of Paramedics, including entry requirements

National Careers Service
If you like variety and want to work in medical care, this could be a perfect job for you.