Graduation June 21, 2024 – Guest Speaker Ken West, President & CEO of HCA Florida JFK Hospital

7 Attributes Every Paramedic Should Have

No two days are alike for emergency medical response professionals. Responding to disasters and emergencies, working long hours, and interacting with others in healthcare are all part of a paramedic’s job. Paramedics and EMTs are the front-liners on the scene to provide treatment for patients. To succeed in this career takes some invaluable traits. Some personal qualities will also serve them well while providing emergency medical care. 

Qualities Every Paramedic Should Have

Paramedics and EMTs have a challenging and physical role to play in providing fast and sometimes life-saving treatment to those in need, and not everyone is up to the responsibilities. If you’re thinking of becoming a paramedic, here are some attributes that will help you.

1. Problem-Solving Skills

Emergencies can be complex and patients often have difficulty communicating with emergency responders. Paramedics must quickly evaluate situations at a glance, using problem-solving skills to determine the best course of action for the patient’s welfare. 

2. Teamwork

Collaboration is key as a paramedic. Providing emergency medical care requires coordination with others. Responders must communicate with one another when planning an evacuation, stabilizing a patient, administering drugs, and keeping records. When paramedics respond to a call, they have to make sure the medical team receiving the patient is accurately informed to continue care. Collaboration ensures a more efficient team that can handle the workload of a paramedic career. 

3. Mental Agility

Paramedics need mental agility to overcome the stress and trauma they constantly face in their profession. A systematic review found that 27% of ambulance personnel suffer from general psychological distress.

Constant exposure to trauma leaves paramedics vulnerable to fatigue and distraction, and sometimes struggling to meet the demands of the work. Having strong mental agility will help them to carry out their duties according to industry best practices. Since they need to make swift decisions on the spot in most cases, mental alertness plays a huge role to ensure patients receive the best care possible at any given moment.   

4. Physical Fitness

Being a paramedic requires strength and agility in order to move quickly, work in difficult spaces, and lift patients. The physical demands of the job predispose paramedics to develop injuries. A study showed that as much as 50% of ambulance staff develop task-related injuries. Paramedics must undergo technical training and meet physical requirements before being employed. 

They need to undergo color vision tests to determine color blindness because it can impede their ability to provide proper patient care. While paramedics are not necessarily required to have 20/20 vision, they must have good eyesight to ensure life-threatening mistakes are avoided.

In addition to good vision, paramedics should have stamina and endurance as they often lift and transport patients. Some situations may also call for them to kneel, bend, or work in awkward positions. 

They also need to be physically coordinated since many of their tasks require precision. Fine motor skills are required to administer intravenous medications or apply bandages, and gross motor skills are needed for climbing stairs, carrying equipment and patients, and moving in tight, confined spaces. 

Paramedics must always exercise caution to maintain their health and safety at work while also saving other people’s lives. 

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5. Compassion

Paramedics can take better care of their patients if they show compassion. A study has shown that empathy from healthcare providers can result in patients communicating better. This helps paramedics assess and treat their patients. When patients feel their primary care provider has compassion, they are more open to receiving treatment, which can reduce complications. 

6. Communication Skills

Since paramedics work in high-stress situations, they often have to deal with patients, family members, and even witnesses who may be emotional. Paramedics need to communicate with them for critical information to provide appropriate and immediate patient care. 

Aside from communicating with people on the scene, paramedics must also relay information about the patient’s condition and the initial care administered to the receiving medical team to ensure continuity of care. 

7. Hunger for Learning

Working in the medical field means continuous learning. Innovations and updates in medical care, drug dosing, and even technology, are constantly being introduced in the medical field. Paramedics must stay up to date with the latest developments and procedures.

Furthermore, the fast-paced environment in which paramedics work means they may inevitably make mistakes. While they are trained to be meticulous, they need to learn from their mistakes and continue to develop their skills throughout their career. 

Paramedics and EMTs fill a challenging and indispensable role in providing immediate patient care in emergencies. In addition to the required skills they must learn, those considering a career as a paramedic should keep in mind the attributes needed for the job. If this sounds like you, explore our programs page to learn more about becoming a paramedic 

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