Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Paramedic Career Development

Hello readers,

I thought I'd devote some cyber-space to something all aspiring Student Paramedics should know about for Interviews - Career pathways and specialisations once you are qualified. I was asked this on two of my Interviews which made me glad that I had done my research, one interview I was even asked how I would like to specialise later on down the line if I was successful and why I chose that particular career path.

So here we go with some of the options available to a Paramedic with a few years under your belt:


Emergency Care Practitioner (ECP)

ECPs are experienced Senior Paramedics who have more training in diagnostics and management of chronic and acute medical conditions. With all the headlines of the pressures of A&E, it's falling on the shoulders of specialists such as ECPs to treat patients in their own home when appropriate without sending them into the Hospital when it is safe to do so. Generally you are required to hold a minimum of a BSc to become an ECP and a huge part of the role is knowing when a Patient needs to go to Hospital, or when you can get a specialist health care provider out to see them in their home instead.

Critical Care Paramedic (CCPs)
This is what I'd like to become one day, CCPs are trained to operate at a very high level in the management of acute medical emergencies. They can be found road-side assisting Doctors putting in a surgical airway, or escorting critical patients being transferred from one Hospital to the next for further specialist care. They are able to, in some instances administer more powerful analgesia such as Ketamine - again a minimum of BSc will get your foot into the door of this highly competitive role.

Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) Paramedic
If you're fit and motivated, HART could be the aspiration for you. Trained to treat and help extricate casualties from complicated and dangerous scenarios often alongside the Fire Service and sometimes the Police. Formed after the July 7th bombings these guys are trained to operate within the 'inner cordon' of a major incident such as inside the tube stations on that horrible day, but also things such as working at heights, out on the hills, in caves, chemical and nuclear environment, building fires, out on the water and even during Police firearms or riot control operations.

Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) Paramedic
Obviously quite an attractive role aslong as flying is your thing. HEMS Paramedics are generally all CCPs and usually work alongside a HEMS Doctor. Air Ambulance is called when time-critical patients need to be moved from the scene of an incident to hospital in the shortest time possible such as a serious vehicle collisions on a large stretch of motorway - also when Casualties are in hard to reach areas such as mountains or very remote villages (we're looking at you Scotland...).

Motorcycle Response Paramedic
Not all Trusts have them, but if you like Motorbikes then this could be worth your consideration. Obviously working alone most of the time but Motorbikes can get through busy city-center traffic much faster than an Ambulance even on blues. As such generally this seems to be where you find the Motorcycle units - major cities.

Military Paramedic









I've talked about this in-depth already (PARAMEDICS AND THE MILITARY) so I won't go on too much about this one but as discussed already it's an emerging field within the Armed Forces and there is a demand for Paramedics (albeit a small one). Don't forget you can serve as a military Paramedic part-time as well through the Reserve Forces once qualified.

Research










This may be one you haven't thought that much about, but it exists. The College of Paramedics hires experienced Paramedics to carry out Research projects to develop the field of pre-hospital and unscheduled care. But it's not just the College of Paramedics - pretty much any Hospital, Ambulance Trust or University that commissions any sort of study that a Paramedic could have an input in is an opportunity if this is your thing later on down the line. Generally you're looking at holding a Masters or PhD at this stage.

Lecturer









I don't know about you but at 60 I don't fancy kneeling down in someones living room carrying out CPR. Paramedic Practice is now an educational vocation and that isn't likely to change, someone will have to train the next generation of Paramedics - why not let that be you? With alot of years and qualifications under your belt you can go back to Uni but on the other side of the classroom this time and pass on your knowledge.

The Future








So there's a list of what you can specialise as at the moment - but what about the future? Who knows but you only need to look at the work the College of Paramedics is carrying out to get a feel for what's next - Paramedic Prescribing of drugs. In-line with the rest of the Healthcare Professionals world you will likely need a Masters to be able to prescribe drugs but these very experience Paramedics will be found on Ambulances, in Hospitals and in GPs surgeries just like Nurse Practitioners and will be able to prescribe drugs which will again alleviate the stress on A&E departments further.

I hope all of this has given you something to think about!

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