The Hardships of the Career of a Paramedic

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Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) serve great purposes and carry much responsibility when it comes to the care of a patient that is away from any health care facility. In the career of EMTs, there are three levels which are of the following: EMT-basic, EMT-intermediate, and the main focus, EMT-paramedic. According to the textbook by DeLaet, R. (2013) EMT-paramedics (paramedics) are the EMTs who carry utmost responsibility and are the ones who are most trained in the department. Paramedics provide emergency medical care in the case where a patient in an accident, or in need of medical attention, is either at home, at the scene, or any other place aside from a medical facility such as a hospital.

A large portion of people being rushed to a hospital are often alive due to the care a team of paramedics would provide before arriving at a medical facility. However, paramedics are not doctors. They are people who go through major and extensive medical training, but they are able to perform several tasks that doctors handle as well (Bryan, N. , 2002). The the textbook by Hancock, C. (2001), and the textbook by DeLaet, R. (2013) will utilize the job duties or the type of work done in this career. Once a team of paramedics arrive to the scene of the accident, or where the patient is, the team must carry out three important tasks to ensure the best care for the patient. The first thing that the paramedics would do is to immediately determine what type of condition the patient is in. Meaning, they need to identify what the injury is, and how the injury might have happened. They can do this by observing the scene of the accident, asking bystanders, asking the patient questions about what happened, or asking the patient or someone who knows them about a medical condition the patient might have (Hancock, C. , 2001). Once paramedics are informed of what injury happened to the patient and how it might have happened, they would then need to stabilize or balance the condition of the patient by doing any of the following medical procedures: “assess a patient’s breathing, do a rapid trauma assessment, provide oxygen by a face mask, suction an airway, use an automated external defibrillator, start an iv, run and read an EKG, attach a cardiac monitor and a pulse oximeter, insert an artificial airway, stabilize impaled objects, administer certain medications” (DeLaet, R. , 2013, pg. 66). Either they follow these procedures or go by specific instructions given by the emergency medical dispatcher. They would then transport the patient to a nearby hospital to get full extensive medical attention from doctors (Hancock, C. , 2001). Being able to save a person’s life or care for a patient in need of medical attention would utilize a lot of equipment. The book by Bryan, N. (2002) will assist in explaining the various tools used within a career of a paramedic.

As mentioned before, paramedics would need to do any of the following (and more) to help a patient in need: “assess a patient’s breathing, do a rapid trauma assessment, provide oxygen by a face mask, suction an airway, use an automated external defibrillator, start an iv, run and read an EKG, attach a cardiac monitor and a pulse oximeter, insert an artificial airway, stabilize impaled objects, administer certain medications” (DeLaet, R. , 2013, pg. 66). These medical procedures require many instruments because paramedics cannot simply do this by just using their hands. Paramedics use things such as bag mask valves to manually give oxygen to a patient who seems to not be breathing, a suction device to suction out any fluids trapped in the patient’s airways, bags filled with medications, spinal boards to put underneath a patient while transferring them to an ambulance truck to support a spinal injury, an ECG or EKG monitor to monitor a patient’s condition within the body, a defibrillator to shock a stagnant heart, ventilators which are used to pump air into a patient who seems to not be breathing, a cervical collar which helps keep a patient’s head in place or intact when there seems to be a head or neck injury, and an intravenous fluid (IV) drip used to hydrate or replenish fluids within a patient’s body. Success in the career of a paramedic is not solely based on the performance the person has on duty, but it also depends on the personal qualities and the skills the person carries. The textbook by Hancock, C. (2001) suggests that in order for a paramedic to fully cooperate with a patient to help them, they would need to have a team-guided personality, since paramedics usually work in teams, and they would need to be a people person. To be a people person would mean that you would have to be someone “who cares for people, their feelings, and their struggle within an emergency situation” (Hancock, C. , 2001, pg. 14).

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Paramedics would also need to remain calm or emotionally stable in any type of emergency situation and they would also need to know how to calm down a patient and other people who may be family, people involved in the accident, or any bystanders. To be able to remain calm in traumatizing work conditions would require much commitment and dedication to their job. Other personal qualities would be the paramedic being willing to help patients and even willing to risk their own lives to give others a hand. Being healthy and fit is also a good quality since it is useful in moving several heavy objects on the job, such as moving a patient onto a stretcher, or in a case where a paramedic would have to lift, or go over objects in order to reach a patient. Paramedics would also need to know exactly what to do in situations, and they can do this by asking important questions about the patient, and by remembering many details such as numbers or certain medication (Bryan, N. , 2002).

According to the scholarly article titled “Understanding and Measuring Quality of Care: Dealing With Complexity” by Hanefeld, J. , Powell-Jackson, T. , & Balabanova, D. (2017), professional attributes that benefit all health care workers would be that they are willing to help patients, are willing to sacrifice many hours for work, and are good with people. Education is an important key to getting a job in the health care profession. To become a paramedic, it is required to have obtained either a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) diploma (DeLaet, R. , 2013). People looking into becoming a paramedic would go through much training, and would have to practice in field work. According to Hancock, C. (2001) pg. 5, “Training programs for EMT-Paramedics generally last between 750-2,000 hours and allow paramedics to give extensive prehospital care. ” They would go through usually one to two years at an EMT-paramedic program that would be offered by technicals schools and community colleges. Going through the program can lead to having an associate’s degree and then the future paramedic would get certified once they pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam. The book by Hancock, C. (2001) will be used to explain the working conditions involved with the career of a paramedic. Paramedics are almost always on the road when it comes to an emergency away from a medical facility. The areas at where they work to assess an emergency situation can range from different locations. Many accident scenes can be horrendous and terribly treacherous and it often puts a paramedic’s life at risk. People around the area might think the situation is traumatizing or upsetting, so paramedics would have to calm them down. Scenes that are horrible also cause paramedics to be in distress but they must remain emotionally stable no matter how stressful and exhausting the working condition may be. Dangerous working conditions would be wrecks, extreme weather, fires, etc. Emergency services are on-going for 24 hours and would require paramedics to be on call for any emergencies, even if they are not on shift. Paramedics have shifts that could be regular or irregular depending on the situation.

For example, one paramedic could be working 40-55 hours a week on a one shift everyday basis, or another could be taking 24-hour shifts for three days and then taking the rest of the days off, while others could be there taking on shifts during holidays. As said before, working conditions can cause paramedics to undergo chronic stress at work (burnout syndrome) and can cause them to be very emotionally exhausted. According to the study conducted in a scholarly article titled “Professional Burnout Among Nurses and Paramedics” by Nowakowska, S. , & Wolniewicz, Ł. (2017), it says “The most frequently listed stress-generating factors at work were: lack of cooperation and support at work, remuneration inadequate to responsibility, and critique and dissatisfaction of patients and their families. ” Paramedics are often flooded with guilt when they lose a patient because they feel as if it was their fault in why they couldn’t be saved. Guilt leads to stress in most cases and there are several ways to deal with the stress the career of a paramedic would give. One way would be to talk it out because it would be much worse if the person would keep how they’re feeling bottled up inside. It would eventually lead to more emotional exhaustion, more stress, and even put the person into a state of depression. Another way would be to remain calm and just relax. Lastly, you could go and seek help from another medical professional such as a therapist. There is a numerous amount of job opportunities in the area of being an EMT because there are many different types of EMTs out there in the health care world. Different types of EMTs would be of the following: volunteer EMTS, paid EMTs, EMT-basic, EMT-intermediate, EMT-paramedic, and an EMT dispatcher (Hancock, C. , 2001). Based on the prediction from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in the textbook by DeLaet, R. (2013, pg. 67) “employment for EMTs and paramedics will grow by 9 percent between 2008 and 2018. ” and it is said that there are three factors that influence this prediction. One factor is that the population of elderly people who are in more need of emergency medical services, is constantly increasing, which opens up doors for more EMT jobs.

Another factor is that since there is an overcrowding in emergency rooms, EMTs and paramedics would have to spend more time with each of their patients when they are being transferred to other hospitals. If the other hospitals are unable to take in a patient, it would be up to the EMTs and paramedics to continue giving care to the patient while they are again, being transferred to another hospital. The last factor influencing the prediction would be that most patients coming into the hospital are taken there via ambulances, where a team of paramedics and an EMT dispatcher work. When more ambulances are being called to an emergency, it requires more people on the job, so it opens up more job opportunities. “In 2008, EMTs and paramedics held about 210,700 jobs. ” (DeLaet, R. , 2013, pg. 67) As mentioned above, “employment for EMTs and paramedics will grow by 9 percent between 2008 and 2018. ” (DeLaet, R. , 2013, pg. 67). However, there has been a new estimated job outlook for this career and it is stated on the website, occupational outlook handbook, of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS. , 2018, January 8), titled “EMTs and Paramedics”. It says “Employment of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026”. The same three factors that influenced the previous prediction mentioned earlier, are the same three factors that influenced the new prediction.

As of 2016, the employment for this career was at 248,000 and would increase to 285,400, which is 15 percent. According to BLS, the median annual pay for this career as of May 2016 was $32, 670 and the highest 10 percent received as much as $56, 310, while the lower 10 percent received as low as $21, 240. The benefit a full time paramedic would receive is being paid while having time off such as a holiday, if a paramedic is retiring they would receive a $401,000 plan, they have insurance for medical, dental, and vision, disability insurance offered either short-term or long-term, and there is life insurance (Paramedic Wages & Benefits. , 2018, January 8).

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