Paramedic

A paramedic is recognized as an allied health professional that responds and provides immediate treatment to victims of illness or injury within the respective community. As the highest level “out-of-hospital” healthcare provider, the paramedic acts as a team leader during an ambulance response to medical emergencies, rescue operations, mass casualty situations, and crime scenes. The Paramedic’s scope of practice includes invasive and pharmacological interventions to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with acute out-of-hospital medical and traumatic emergencies. The Paramedic provides care designed to minimize secondary injury and provide comfort to the patient and family while transporting the patient to an appropriate health care facility. Most paramedics are hired by private service, fire department, municipal/governmental, or hospital-based ambulance companies. Opportunities to specialize include tactical medicine with police departments, critical care inter-facility transport including aeromedical services, disaster management with technical rescue teams, primary healthcare within the federal prison system, and industrial medicine including oil rigs. Becoming a paramedic begins with the training. Standards for training vary from state to state, but generally begin with EMT-1, which is first responder training. EMT-1s can provide limited patient interventions, take vital signs, and offer basic life support including administration of oxygen and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). EMT-1s cannot administer injected medications. EMT-2s and EMT-3s can offer more life support services, as well as offering injected and oral medications. A paramedic, or EMT-4, has the highest level of training.