Skills Needed to Become a Paramedic

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Paramedics may work for private companies or as part of an emergency response team to provide aid in urgent situations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, paramedics averaged $11 to $18 per hour in 2008. Paramedics must become licensed with their state after completing their training program.

Emergency Skills

  • Paramedics must have a comprehensive understanding of emergency medicine and emergency rescue skills in order to become licensed. This includes knowledge of rescue techniques, oxygen delivery systems, proper care for bleeding and wounds and heart attack response procedures.

Physical Skills

  • Paramedics must be able to bend, crouch, lean, twist and turn. Since many medical procedures require delicate work, paramedics need steady hands and good hand-eye coordination. Paramedics will lift heavy objects as part of the job. Some paramedics may drive as part of the job and need good driving skills, reaction time and eyesight.

Anatomy

  • To address medical emergencies, paramedics need a good understanding of anatomy. Understanding the placement of bones and tissue in the body means paramedics can assess the extent of danger in an emergency situation.

Equipment Skills

  • While paramedics use basic emergency response equipment that all first aid rescuers know how to use (such as a backboard), they also need to know how to use more specialized equipment. Paramedics may regularly interpret electrocardiograms (or EKGs), intubate patients, perform minor surgeries and use patient monitors. Paramedics need to know how to set up, operate and properly store all equipment.

Wound Identification

  • To properly treat patients, paramedics must be able to identify the type and severity of wound as well as the proper treatment. Paramedics distinguish between types of burns, determine the severity of deep cuts, treat cuts with medicine or ointment and advise patients on the proper aftercare for wounds.

References

  • Photo Credit paramedic image by Byron Moore from Fotolia.com
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