Do You Have What It Takes To Fill These Boots?
Toni Milan, BSIT, EMT-P, Respond Right EMS Academy
A paramedic has certain qualities and characteristics that make them successful. It’s a career that requires dedication and hard work.
A paramedic is at their best when a patient is at their very worst. It doesn’t matter if it’s 2 pm or 2 am.
Some people are born to be in EMS, it’s in their blood, they do it because they love the job. They understand helping people in critical and non-critical situations are extremely rewarding. It’s not about glamour or driving fast with lights and sirens.
So if this is a career you have been considering, ask yourself a few questions.
- “Am I cut out for this?” Think about what your natural strengths and weaknesses are. The most successful paramedics are able to remain calm during extremely stressful situations. They are able to multitask and make critical thinking decisions under extreme mental and physical conditions.
- “Do I play well with others?” Are you able to work well as a team member and be a team leader when the situation arises? An ambulance is staffed with two crew members, either one EMT and one paramedic or two paramedics. When you arrive on a scene it is very important to understand your role during the call. At times there may be multiple agencies (police, fire, etc) on the scene and you will need to accomplish specific tasks in order to care for the patient appropriately. EMTs and paramedics need to check their ‘egos at the door’ and remember everyone is working together to effectively treat the patient.
- “Am I able to physically handle the job?” Working in EMS requires a certain level of physical health. You will be placed in situations that will test even the strongest of bodies. The key is to be prepared. As a paramedic you will run into situations where you will routinely be required to carry, or lift, an adult patient with your partner. Sometimes the situation is not ideal. You could be off the road in a ditch or in a basement. How will you physically prepare yourself for these challenges? Are you able to workout regularly? Are you able to adjust to these physical demands as the job requires?
- “Am I able to adjust to working 24 or 48 hour shifts?” Many agencies in the St. Louis and St. Charles, MO area work a 24 or 48 hour rotating schedules. Being on duty for 24 hours can take a toll on your body, especially if you are running several calls during your shift. This means your sleep may be interrupted at times. No one can predict when someone will call 911 and many times it’s in the middle of the night. Do you think you will be able to function and perform your duties at 3 am?
There are many different types of career opportunities for EMTs and paramedics. If being on an ambulance is not appealing to you, think about a career in an emergency room or in the hospital. Many demands of the job will be similar, so be prepared. There are other aspects of the career to consider as well. Do you like helping people? Do like working in an environment that is ever changing? Would you like the satisfaction of knowing that you made a difference in someone’s life every day you went to work?
If you think you can fill these boots and are interested in becoming a paramedic, give us a call. We would be happy to talk about your career path.
Respond Right EMS Academy 636-387-6200