Paramedic Studies Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update


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What is a Paramedic?

A Paramedic is a medical professional who specializes in emergency treatment. Paramedics care for the sick or injured in emergency medical settings, they respond to emergency calls, perform medical services and transport patients to medical facilities

The word paramedic is a combination of two terms. “Para” means next to, and “medic” means doctor. So it means that paramedics work alongside doctors, though not always physically. They can provide life-saving treatment for someone until they can get to a doctor.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Paramedic Studies courses in the following subject areas:

  • Pre-Paramedic Ambulance and Fire – The study of all the vital skills needed to work in the emergency services environment.
  • Community Health/Pre-Paramedic Course – This is a Pre-Paramedic course for those who wish to work in either the fire service or ambulance service.
  • Paramedic Recruitment – This Paramedic Recruitment course helps students to understand the qualities the selection panel are looking for.
  • Diploma of Higher Education in Paramedic Sciences – The study of Paramedic Science and being a first responder for emergency medical calls.
  • Foundation Degree in Paramedic Sciences – Build a strong foundation for a career as a paramedic.
  • Developing your Paramedic Practice – Improve your practical paramedic skills and Develop your understanding of the science and theory of paramedic skills.

Studying Paramedic Studies in college

There are many Paramedic Studies courses that take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You will usually be expected to have some relevant healthcare or first aid experience. You could consider work experience or volunteering as a first aider or lifeguard with the appropriate training. If possible, see if you can spend time with an ambulance service to show course providers that you have an understanding of the role of a paramedic.

Having current first aid certificates is also useful as it will show your interest in keeping up to date with developments. Other experiences of working with sick, disabled and/or elderly people can also be useful.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future

Career options

After completing a course in Paramedic Studies you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of emergency medical treatment and first aid. When you join an ambulance service you’ll receive on-the-job training to become familiar with that particular service and will usually have a mentor who is a more experienced paramedic.

As a senior paramedic it’s possible to work as an emergency care practitioner (ECP), where you could be based in community hospitals, GP surgeries, health centres, hospital accident and emergency departments or minor injuries units. It’s also possible, with further training in critical care and trauma, to move into the senior role of critical care paramedic. Opportunities exist in some locations for specialist work with motorcycle, rapid response car or air ambulance units.

Working hours will depend on whether you are employed by a facility with set business hours or if you are contracted to various facilities or companies. The emergency services operate 24 hours a day so you will need to work shifts to cover this. You will typically do 37.5 hours per week, which can be made up of evenings and nights, weekends and public holidays.

You may be required for additional stand-by and on-call duties, especially in remote areas. Paramedics work both indoors and outdoors, in all types of weather. Their work is physically strenuous and can be stressful, sometimes involving life-or-death situations and patients who are suffering.

Paramedics need to be physically fit. Their job requires a lot of bending, lifting, and kneeling.

Related jobs include:

  • Paramedic
  • Emergency Care Practitioner
  • EMT
  • Nurse
  • Health play specialist
  • Health visitor
  • High intensity therapist
  • Midwife
  • Physician associate
  • Counsellor
  • Further education teacher
  • Genetic counsellor
  • Health service manager
  • Medicinal chemist
  • Play therapist
  • Police officer
  • Social worker

Further study

After completing a course in Paramedic Studies you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practise in certain career areas such as nursing, training and development, or health and safety.

Careers in other uniformed services, such as the armed forces, police or fire service, are also an option, as are lecturing posts on paramedic science courses.

FAQ

What is the difference between a Paramedic and an EMT?

The basic difference between EMTs 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.

What skills could be helpful for a career as a Paramedic?

For a career as a Paramedic you may find it helpful to go into the field with excellent interpersonal skills for dealing with patients, their friends and family, and members of the public, strong teamwork skills to work alongside other crew and hospital staff, the ability to work autonomously, oral, written and listening communication skills for reporting conditions.

You should also have skills in problem-solving and critical thinking, the ability to remain calm and focused under pressure, initiative and decision making skills and a responsible and highly motivated approach to the work.

Being a paramedic will also require a calm and reassuring approach and a caring attitude and an outgoing, helpful personality. You should have resilience in the face of strong emotions and be able to maintain your integrity and honesty. Other helpful attributes are a good general fitness to cope with lifting patients and equipment and excellent driving skills as you may be required to drive an ambulance under emergency conditions.

Where can I study Paramedic Studies?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • You should always let ambulances pass you, but make sure you obey the rules of the road. On the highway, pull over to the right if possible, but don’t stop your vehicle on the shoulder—it’s generally illegal to do so, and emergency vehicles may need to use it to get around traffic.
  • Using an automatic external defib­rillator (AED) or performing CPR within three to five minutes of cardiac arrest, before paramedics arrive, can make all the difference. Survival rates go down by 10 per cent for every minute the patient doesn’t get CPR or defibrillation.
  • The word ‘ambulance’ comes from the Latin word ‘ambulare’, which means walk or move about.
  • Ambulances can be in the form of a car, train, truck, van, bicycle, trailer, motorbike, cart, bus, helicopter, wing aircraft, boat, and hospital ships.
  • Ambulances don’t need to be too fast, since its sirens should clear the road ahead of them. However, that didn’t stop Dubai from creating the world’s fastest ambulance. It is based on a Ford Mustang and can hit over 180 miles per hour.

Mariza Halliday

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