The benefits of working as a paramedic before med school

November 12, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Gap Medics students with their mentor inTanzania.jpg It might seem like a roundabout way of becoming a doctor, but working as a paramedic before going to medical school may be a good choice for some people. Consider what a paramedic does, qualifications, and how it can help you if you go on to med school.


Responsibilities of a paramedic

Paramedics respond to medical emergencies outside of a hospital setting. They must rapidly assess a patient and the situation in order to provide appropriate care. Paramedics may perform procedures that stabilize a patient’s condition, such as applying a splint or stopping bleeding. In addition, paramedics may also perform lifesaving procedures, such as CPR, administration of medication and inserting a breathing tube to help a patient who is having trouble breathing.

Most paramedics work on ambulances, although some may also work for air transport services or hospital emergency rooms. Paramedics work with a variety of patients with all types of conditions.


Education required

Although they are highly skilled, you can become a paramedic in a relatively brief time. Paramedic school can often be completed in a year or two. The requirements to get accepted into a paramedic program may vary. But all programs require applicants to be a high school graduate or have earned their GED. Two-year paramedic programs lead to an associate degree, but a degree is not required in order to become licensed as a paramedic.

Paramedic school consists of lectures, laboratory work and field experience. Paramedic students are required to complete a specific amount of hours working on an ambulance. The exact requirements regarding the number of hours needed varies by state. After completing paramedic school, paramedics are required to take an exam to become licensed.


Why working as a paramedic may be a good choice

There are several reasons why working as a paramedic may be a good choice before going to medical school. Deciding to become a physician takes a big commitment. Four years of undergrad studies followed by four years of medical school and residency is a lot of time to invest in a profession. Plus, all that education is not cheap. Before investing a lot of time and money, it’s essential to be certain you enjoy working in the medical field.

Working as a paramedic also gives you an advantage over other applicants who do not have medical experience. Medical school is competitive and having a job, such as a paramedic, where you provide direct patient care is an asset on your med school application.

Since you already have experience performing patient assessments and doing certain procedures, such as starting an intravenous line, you have a head start on some of the clinical aspects of working as a doctor.

Paramedics have to work under pressure. They also have to have good judgment and make quick decisions. Those are also skills you will use in medical school and when you become a physician.

Although it may not be for everyone, gaining experience as a paramedic may be a good choice for some people before moving onto to med school. The experience you gain may provide you with the confidence you need to get through medical school.