Paramedics on Scene follows the Scottish Ambulance Service as they perform their heroic job every day, but how can you become a paramedic?
What sort of training do you need? And how much do they get paid?
Here’s everything you need to know about becoming a paramedic.
What is a paramedic?
Paramedics treat patients who have been involved in accidents, emergencies or other crises.
A paramedic is usually the senior member of a two-person ambulance crew, supported by an emergency care assistant or technician.
A paramedic is typically one of the first healthcare professionals to arrive at the scene of an emergency.
They assess patients and provide emergency treatment.
Typical duties of the job include driving and staffing ambulances, responding to emergency 999 calls and providing treatment.
Twenty-four shift work – including weekends – is usually a standard requirement of the job.
How to become a paramedic: qualifications and training
To practise as a paramedic, you need to complete an approved degree in paramedic science or with an apprenticeship degree.
You’ll then need to apply to an ambulance service as a qualified paramedic and register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Paramedic science courses usually take between three or four years full time and include a mixture of theory and practical work – including placements with the ambulance services.
Entry requirements for an undergraduate course are typically two or three A-levels, including a science, or an equivalent qualification.
How to become a paramedic: apprenticeship
Another possible route is studying while you work with a degree apprenticeship in paramedic science.
An apprenticeship scheme usually ask for at least five GCSEs, grade 4/C or above, including english, maths and science, or equivalent academic qualification.
Employees will need to be fit and have a driving licence.
Apprenticeships aren’t eligible for student grants, but they do get paid a salary.
You can search for degree apprenticeship positions on the NHS jobs website, or use the government’s apprenticeship search page on GOV.UK.
As well as training, paramedics need other key skills which can’t always be learnt.
Paramedics need to have strong communication skills, empathy for others and the ability to make quick decisions.
They also need to stay calm under pressure.
Paramedics need to be fit, good drivers and have resilience and stamina.
What are paramedics qualified to do?
A qualified paramedic can resuscitate and stabilise patients.
In an emergency, a paramedic may need to use defibrillators, as well as spinal and traction splints.
Typical duties of the job include providing emergency treatment and making diagnoses, as well as dressing wounds.
The basic difference between Emergency Medical Technicians and paramedics lies in their level of education and the kind of procedures they are allowed to perform.
While EMTs can administer CPR, glucose, and oxygen, paramedics can perform more complex procedures such as inserting IV lines, administering drugs, and applying pacemakers.
Paramedics cannot perform surgery.
How much do paramedics get paid?
A trainee paramedic will receive at least £5,000 a year to help fund their studies, through the NHS Learning Support Fund.
This does NOT have to be paid back.
Once fully-trained and employed, the average salary for a paramedic is £25,883.
Paramedic salaries start at Band 5, which ranges from £24,907 to £30,615.
After two years, a paramedic will move up to Band 6 (£31,365 and £37,890).
Paramedics working in primary care or in a GP practice should expect to gain Band 7 after a year.
A consultant paramedic can earn a Band 8c salary of £63,751 to £73,664.
Paramedics on Scene on BBC One
Paramedics on Scene is a new documentary series following Scottish Ambulance Service crews in Glasgow and Edinburgh as they respond to 999 calls.
In a remote rural location, a small child falls in a loch, triggering a huge emergency response.
Meanwhile, a motorway crash sees several people hospitalised, including a pregnant woman.
Paramedics on Scene airs at 8.30pm on BBC One at Tuesday February 16 2021.
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