Paramedic Science FdSc: Choosing a career in paramedic science
Find out what a career in this field involves
What do paramedics do?
Paramedics are health care professionals with a high degree of autonomy who work in the ambulance services to provide support in accidents and emergencies. Often the first people to arrive in a crisis, they assess the needs of the patient and administer pre-hospital medical treatment and care.
For example, paramedics are qualified to:
- administer drugs to patients who urgently need their help such as victims of a heart attack, severe allergic reaction, and to support diabetic and asthmatic emergencies;
- keep a critically ill patient's airway open by inserting a tube into the windpipe (intubation), monitor heart beats, and give an electric shock to the heart if a patient has a cardiac arrest; and
- insert a needle into the veins (canulation) and to administer drugs and life-saving fluids.
In addition to attending accidents, paramedics often visit patients who are experiencing difficulties in their own home and they may have to deal with a wide range of conditions, both mental, physical, or drug and alcohol related.
What skills and qualifications do I need?
Technicians and paramedics have to undertake considerable training, demonstrate a wide range of skills and be capable of a very physically demanding job. If you are considering a degree in Paramedic Sciences, you must be able to answer 'yes' to all of the following questions:
- Are you committed to working in a people-focused profession?
- Do you possess the personal qualities that will help you care for people in crisis situations eg the ability to react quickly, to be able to remain calm under pressure etc?
- Do you have a full clean current driving licence and no previous conditions for driving under the influence of alcohol?
- Are you aged over 18, with one A-level (or equivalent), preferably in a science subject and five GCSE A-C grades, including English and Maths?
- Are you physically fit, with a capacity and desire to work hard in a demanding and dynamic environment?
- Are you able and prepared to undertake shift work - working when others are not, for example at Christmas or Easter and during the night?
- Do you work well with other people?
- Do you enjoy teamwork?
- Do you have access (or plan to have access) to a personal computer with internet access in order to access the e-learning element of the course?
- Can you support yourself financially throughout the whole course? (You will earn a salary from the second year onwards.)
- Do you have good general eyesight? (This will be tested to the standard required for a vocational (LGV) licence.)
If you are a mature student without formal qualifications, we are happy to discuss entry requirements on an individual basis and we may be able to take account of other qualifications and experience
What skills will I develop?
Upon successful completion of our courses you will have gained:
- the ability to work independently and safely as a paramedic;
- the experience of working alongside qualified ambulance service personnel, through practice placements;
- the ability to assess patients with undifferentiated and undiagnosed problems;
- an understanding of the theory underpinning clinical practice;
- experience of other health care placements designed to broaden your awareness of the health care environment;
- the ability to think laterally and under pressure;
- communication and e-learning skills which will be invaluable in the development of your future career; and
- the skills to work effectively in a care team.