6 Crucial Skills You Need
to Become a Paramedic

Transferable Skills

Working as a paramedic is a fast-paced yet highly rewarding career that allows you to be there for others in their time of need. If you like the idea of a job that provides a lot of adrenaline rushes and no two days are the same, this could be the ideal choice for you.

We’ll take a look at how to achieve your dreams of becoming a paramedic and at some of the essential skills that you will need if you want to succeed in this field.

How to Become a Paramedic

To become a paramedic, you will need to attend an accredited university to complete a bachelor’s degree in Paramedic Science. Before enrolling at university, many paramedics get experience by taking first aid courses and working as a first-aider at their place of work or study. During your studies, working as a first aid course tutor can be a great source of experience. You will need a full, clean driver’s license to work as a paramedic and will be required to register with the Paramedic Board of Australia to begin working once you have graduated.

Excel in Problem-Solving Skills

As a paramedic, your job will require you to think quickly on your feet and solve problems in order to get your patients to safety and ensure that their condition or injuries are under control as quickly as possible. Being able to think quickly, make snap decisions under pressure and come up with creative ways to solve problems are essential to success in this career. Often, you will be the first on the scene and perhaps the only people on the scene of an accident, and you will need to think quickly and come up with workable solutions to get your patients out of that situation, into the ambulance, and to the hospital where they can be treated as quickly as possible.

Being a Great Team Player

Paramedics tend to work in teams of two or more, so it’s important that you’re dedicated to teamwork in this job. As a paramedic, you’ll need to collaborate with your colleagues and you might not always know the people that you are working with well, so it’s important to improve your communication skills, active listening skills, and be an open, non-judgemental person who can get on well with anybody and quickly build a strong working relationship with somebody on each shift. Along with working well with your fellow paramedics, you will be part of a wider team with the staff back at the hospital. You will need to collaborate with them and communicate well with them, especially when you are bringing a new patient in on the ambulance and need to pass on information about their condition to doctors and nurses quickly.

Learn from You and Your Colleagues’ Mistakes

In a fast-paced environment like this, mistakes are sometimes made. However, that being said, paramedics need to have very strong attention to detail and be able to follow instructions carefully. There is no room for errors in this field as even the smallest mistakes could have disastrous results for patients. However, some mistakes will happen and, as a paramedic, it’s your attitude towards them that will make all the difference. Being able to see any mistakes that you or your colleagues make as an opportunity to learn will help you grow in this career.

Be Mentally Tough

Working as a paramedic is no easy feat, and you will certainly need to make sure that looking after your own mental health is a top priority. As a paramedic, you might be the first on the scene to some very traumatic incidents, and there might be jobs that you would rather forget about. But, carrying it all with you and squashing it down in your mind is not always the best approach.

Over time, the stresses and the traumas that you may see as a paramedic can have a serious effect on your mental health, coupled with the long and strenuous working hours. Because of this, it’s important to be proactive when it comes to looking after your mental health and becoming mentally tough. Most people would struggle to deal with some of the things that paramedics see on a regular basis, so there is no shame in getting regular support from a professional to help you process certain parts of your job.

Adapt to 24/7 Working Hours

If you wanted a 9-5 office job, being a paramedic is probably not the best career choice for you. As a paramedic, you may be required to work at any time of the day or night, since injuries, illnesses and other health emergencies don’t stop happening at 5pm. This can be a good thing for paramedics who want the flexibility to choose when they can work; for example, the need for paramedics around the clock can often make it possible for you to choose the shifts that work best for you to fit around your children’s school, or match your partner’s working hours so that you can spend more time together. However, when working in this field, it’s important to adapt to the possibility of working nights, early mornings, weekends, and even on public holidays. You will always be needed.

Good Health and Physical Strength Are Crucial

Paramedics need to be in good health and very physically strong in order to do their job well. As a paramedic, you might find yourself in situations where you need to help patients onto the stretcher or lift the stretcher up with the patient on it in order to safely get them into the ambulance. The job can certainly involve a lot of heavy lifting, which is why keeping yourself strong is so important. Eating a good diet and working out on a regular basis, particularly with strength training, will help you keep up with your job easier and avoid injuring yourself when you’re trying to help others.

Working as a paramedic is a well-respected, exciting and rewarding career. If you like the idea of this line of work, developing these essential skills is key.

About the Author

Manuel is a medical writer and first aid teacher. He is an ex-emergency ambulance crew member with 32 years experience helping people and saving lives. When he is not writing, Manuel enjoys going fishing.