Studies & Degrees in Paramedicine
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Paramedicine is an extremely dynamic health profession, which encompasses a broad range of areas and skills – good knowledge of patient care, human anatomy and pathophysiology, pharmacology, crisis intervention, and communications. Paramedics are the ones who have to perform life-saving tasks quickly and precisely during an emergency situation, administer drugs, and transfer critically ill patients to the nearest hospital or clinic.
Paramedics usually support a larger emergency response and health care team, and their tasks may include the following: drive an ambulance to a site where an emergency situation has occurred; assess the patient’s condition and provide the appropriate treatment on the way to the hospital; this may include administering of various drugs, replacing fluids, and inserting tubes into veins; paramedics should also be prepared to lift patients or know how to safely move paralyzed patients. Finally, paramedicine also involves attending large sports or other events where accidents are likely to occur, or providing routine transport to patients, who require specialized treatment like chemotherapy for example.
In order to work as a paramedic you need to be extremely good at working under pressure and facing difficult or sometimes shocking life situations. Here are more qualities to consider:
Ability to act quickly while maintaining a clear and calm state of mind
Excellent level of health and fitness
Excellent analytical and problem solving skills
Good at making decisions fast
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
Caring, tolerant, and non-judgmental nature
Good at following instructions and guidelines
Able to work both alone and as a part of a team
To become a paramedic, you definitely need some form of post-secondary education. Do not forget that your physical condition is extremely important, too. Depending on the location you wish to practice this profession, you could either do a full four-year undergraduate degree in Health Science and Paramedicine (or a related one), or undergo a two-year course in paramedics. In any case, you should look for an accredited institution, which is also going to provide plenty of work placement opportunities – gaining some experience early in your paramedics education is crucial. In this way you will be able to ensure that this is the right choice for you – as mentioned earlier, the profession is very demanding, on all physical, mental, and emotional levels.
It is worth mentioning that in certain regions of the world (and especially the United States and Canada), some form of a license is required in order to practice this profession, too. To gain a license you need to cover a number of requirements (usually one of which is to have graduated from an accredited college or university) as well as pass some complementary exams.
Your career choices as a paramedic are basically narrowed down to hospitals, clinics, ambulance companies, the police, and fire departments. Still, there are some specializations you can research – you could be an ambulance paramedic, a nurse paramedic, a fireman paramedic, or a law enforcement officer paramedic. In any case you would be providing emergency services in various settings, and sometimes there are politicians or business people, who also require the presence of a paramedic. This could happen if they have a medical condition that may require emergency care when they are away from their primary care physicians.