Paramedics are the senior ambulance service healthcare professionals at an accident or a medical emergency. They assess the patient's condition and then give essential treatment. They use high-tech equipment, such as defibrillators (which restore the heart's rhythm), spinal and traction splints and intravenous drips, and as well as administering oxygen and drugs.
Paramedics are often one of the first healthcare professionals on the scene of any accident or medical emergency. They are usually one of a two-person ambulance crew, however, they might work on their own, using a motorbike, emergency response car or even a bicycle to reach their patients. With extra training, they could also become members of an air ambulance crew.
When they arrive at the scene, they will assess the patient's condition and take potentially life-saving decisions about any treatment needed before the patient is transferred to hospital. They then start giving the treatment, with the assistance of the emergency care assistant or ambulance technician.
They are trained to drive what is in effect a mobile emergency clinic and to resuscitate and/or stabilise patients using sophisticated techniques, equipment and drugs. They might be called out to someone who has fallen from scaffolding, for example, or an elderly person with a suspected stroke. Based at a local ambulance station or a large hospital along with other emergency crews, they work shifts, including evenings and weekends, going out in all weathers at all hours of the night or day. They work closely with doctors and nurses in hospital accident and emergency departments, briefing them as they hand their patient over to their care.
As well as contact with patients, they also deal with patients' relatives and members of the public, some of whom may be hysterical or aggressive. They also often work alongside the police and fire brigade.
How do I become a Paramedic?
There are many available courses that lead to this profession. Below is information about courses at Monash University.
- Bachelor of Emergency Health (Paramedic)
- Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Emergency Health (Paramedic)