A day in the life of a paramedic

August 24, 2016

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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There are several jobs in healthcare that offer an opportunity to make a difference. One of the most exciting jobs may be a paramedic. Paramedics provide emergency medical care to people outside a hospital setting. So what is it like to work in such a fast-paced career?

The day to day life of a paramedic

The day to day life of a paramedic is often varied. There is no typical day. Each day brings new patients in various settings in different situations. For instance, you may respond to a call in a parking lot where you find a victim of a gunshot. Later that day you might deliver a baby in a patient’s home. Who knows what comes next?

In general, a paramedic’s day starts out by inspecting their rig and making sure they have everything they need for their shift. After everything is inspected, paramedics stay at a standby point waiting for calls. The standby point may be at a hospital, fire department or other location. Once a call is dispatched, paramedics drive to the scene.

Upon arrival, medics make sure the scene is safe and then immediately perform a rapid assessment. Depending on the patient’s condition, care may involve administering medication, starting intravenous lines or performing CPR. Additional care may include stopping bleeding, applying splints or delivering a baby.

Once the patient is stabilized, he/she is transported to the hospital. One medic drives the ambulance while the other one remains in the back of the rig monitoring the patient’s condition.

After arriving at the emergency room, paramedics give report to the emergency room doctor about the patient’s condition. Then it’s time to restock, clean the back of the ambulance and return to the standby point and wait for the next call.

The types of emergencies you see

The type of emergencies a paramedic responds to can range from a cardiac arrest to broken bones. Medics also respond to accidents and assaults. Depending on the day, there may be call after call with little downtime. In other instances, medics may only respond to a few calls during their shift. The size of the city a medic works in often determines how busy they are.

One thing that separates a paramedic from other healthcare professionals, such as a nurse, is medics may work in chaotic conditions. In a hospital, several staff are around, security is available, and conditions are somewhat controlled. A paramedic may work outdoors, in the rain, the dark or in dangerous conditions.

Paramedics often work hand in hand with law enforcement. For example, if an assault occurs, law enforcement will often arrive on the scene first and make sure it is safe for medics to treat patients. Medics also work closely with doctors and nurses in the emergency room handing off care.

Most often paramedics work for fire departments and private ambulance companies. A smaller number of paramedics may also work for hospitals in emergency departments. Medics are also needed to work at sporting events, concerts and other special events. Regardless of where they work, the life of a paramedic can be interesting, exciting and rewarding.


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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.