Specialist paramedics use their training and skills to help patients in emergency situations. They have extra training to assess and treat patients and administer medication.
Specialist paramedics are advanced practitioners in dealing with emergency situations. When they arrive at the scene, they first assess the patient’s condition. They have the experience and training to make decisions and treat patients at the emergency scene.
As a result the patient may be able to return home from the emergency scene without having to go to hospital. Specialist paramedics may also treat people at home. They may, for example:
- carry out tests (such as urine tests) and interpret the results
- undertake basic procedures in the home
- refer patients to social care services
- directly admit patients to specialist units
- administer medication
A specialist paramedic may work from an ambulance or use a motorbike, emergency response car or bicycle to reach their patients. As experienced practitioners, they often work alone or with a paramedic or emergency care assistant. Where necessary, they may call for back-up from an ambulance or from other emergency services.
Some specialist paramedics are based in health centres or hospitals. Others work in ambulance control centres giving guidance on emergency care by phone.
Training and development
If you do not already have a degree you will be encouraged to study towards one, for example, community healthcare practice or emergency care. You will be expected to attend further training courses to keep your skills and knowledge up to date.
Specialist paramedics often join the College of Paramedics. Registered specialist paramedics have to keep their skills and knowledge up to date with annual CPD (continuing professional development). The College of Paramedics runs courses, conferences and seminars where specialist paramedics can exchange ideas and update their skills.
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- Pay and conditions Expand / Collapse
Most jobs in the NHS are covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales and specialist paramedics usually start at band 6. This pay system covers all staff except doctors, dentists and the most senior managers. Although specialist paramedics work standard hours of around 37.5 a week, these are often on a shift pattern. Shifts can cover 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the year. So a paramedic’s work pattern may include, evenings, nights, early starts, weekends and bank holidays.Terms and conditions can vary for employers outside of the NHS.
Paramedics 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. In some ambulance trusts you could progress to consultant paramedic, advising on and developing the clinical practice in that service.
Teaching or research are other options. Some specialist paramedics choose to join a specialist team such as caring for stroke patients or working on an air ambulance.
- 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. Find out more about NHS values.
- Further information Expand / Collapse