A paramedic or EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) is a health care worker who responds to emergency medical calls providing on-site aid, stabilising and treating patients and transporting them safely to medical facilities. They can be found in emergency response vehicles, ambulances or in helicopters and air ambulances to air lift patients.
As an EMT or paramedic you are responsible for the following and not limited too; asses a patients condition and provide first aid or life support to sick or injured patients. This could include administering of medications, start intravenous lines, provide, and monitor airway interventions for patients, resuscitate patients, provide on-scene care for trauma patients, CPR and oxygen administration, treating diabetic patients by administering glucose, provide interventions in allergic reactions or asthma attacks and remove patients and prepare them for safe transport.
Paramedics usually work in teams, one to stabilise the patients and one to drive the emergency vehicle. Work is usually in shifts (Night/ day/ weekends and holidays). Career opportunities are the following but not limited to; private ambulance services, fire departments, hospitals, and other rescue services such as events, outdoor rescue, hazardous materials, and industrial safety.
Due to the nature of this position, there is a higher risk of work-related injuries or illnesses.
Training is required for this position and may be on going depending on the environment and employer.
Team Player – Need to be able to work harmoniously with your team in order to coordinate and execute strategies.
Communication – Need to effectively communicate with co-workers/ patients and other medical professionals in high stress situations to ensure the patient gets the best possible care.
Stress management -May be faced with intense situations with high pressure and need to be mentally tough.
Physically Fit – A paramedic is expected to work long hours, lift heavy loads, be quick on your feet and put in physically demanding conditions.
Prepared -Must be ready for any situation you will encounter, use your knowledge and skills to make the best possible outcome.
Critical Thinking – Make use of logic and reasoning to best sort problems / situations out.
Active Listening – Must be able to take instruction, listen to co-workers and respond quickly to orders or events.
What to Study
The Diploma in Emergency Medical Care is a 2-year qualification at an NQF 6 level and will lead to registration as a Paramedic with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
Bachelor of Emergency Medical Care- this is a four-year course provided at universities. It is level NQF8 and equips the paramedic with all the necessary skills to practice as advanced life support. After completion of the 4-year bachelor’s degree in Emergency Medical Care, the graduate will register as an Emergency Care Practitioner (ECP) with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
Required Entry Qualification/s
• Diploma in Emergency Medical Care (2 years) English 60% Mathematics 50% Physical Sciences 50% Life Sciences 50% Minimum APS score of 26.
• Bachelor of Emergency Medical Care (4 years) English 60% Mathematics 50% Physical Sciences 50% Life Sciences 50% Minimum APS score of 26.
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Photo by Mat Nato