Paramedics respond to 999 and 111 calls and are trained in all aspects of urgent and emergency care, ranging from problems such as cardiac arrest, heart attacks, strokes, spinal injuries and major trauma, to minor illnesses and injuries.
In the past, paramedics provided emergency treatment and transported patients to hospital, but, as a modern day paramedic, you will provide a comprehensive mobile healthcare service by assessing patients, diagnosing problems and providing treatment, often in the patient’s own home.
Most paramedics work for NHS ambulance services alongside an ambulance technician or emergency care assistant.
You might also work as a single responder from a car, motorbike or bicycle, or provide advice over the telephone from a control room or clinical ‘hub’.
Paramedics also work in other settings, including GP practices, minor injury units, urgent care centres, walk-in centres and A&E departments. Wherever you work, you will undertake full clinical assessments and make decisions about the care you provide.
Every case or call is different, so you might have to:
- provide essential treatment to resuscitate and stabilise a patient who has had a cardiac arrest
- support a patient who is experiencing a mental health crisis
- help a patient who has fallen
- provide treatment at the scene for someone seriously injured in a road accident
- or even deliver a baby
As well as caring for your patient, you will also need to be able to look after and provide advice to your patient’s carers, friends and family.
During your career, you may have the opportunity to undertake further higher education to progress to becoming a specialist, advanced or consultant paramedic.
Want to learn more?
- Find out about the entry requirements needed to be a paramedic
- Find out about the paramedic training and development opportunities
- Pay and conditions Expand / Collapse
Most jobs in the NHS are covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales and paramedics start at band 5 as part of their learning programme, progressing to band 6 after two years. Specialist paramedics are employed at band 6. This pay system covers all staff except doctors, dentists and the most senior managers. You'll work standard hours of around 37.5 a week but these are on a shift pattern. Shifts cover 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the year. So your work pattern would include, evenings, nights, early starts, weekends and bank holidays.
You need to be prepared to work outdoors in all conditions, where necessary.
- Where the role can lead Expand / Collapse
With experience, you could become a team leader, supervising the work of paramedics and emergency care assistants. With further experience, you could become a manager, responsible for several teams. Teaching or research are other options.
You could choose to join a specialist team such as caring for stroke patients or working on an air ambulance.
You could take extra training and qualifications to become a specialist paramedic taking on more responsibility for treatment and decision-making in emergencies.
- Job market and vacancies Expand / Collapse
In February 2017, there were 23,763 paramedics registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.
Most NHS organisations advertise their job and apprenticeship vacancies on NHS Jobs, including those who run NHS services. Some advertise on their own websites. You can find a list of NHS organisations at NHS Choices.
If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services, you'll be asked to show how you think the values of the NHS Constitution apply in your everyday work. The same will be true if you are applying for a university course funded by the NHS.
- Further information Expand / Collapse