ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Thinking About Becoming a Paramedic: Things to Keep in Mind

Updated on August 29, 2011

Paramedics seem to have the coolest job for many people, they drive fast and save lives, they see things that would turn most peoples stomachs and can frighten small children, and people look to them for help. While these thing are true to some degree, there is more than that to being a paramedic. Much of which can cause burnout and an unsuccessful career as a paramedic with the wrong mindset.

If you are considering a job as a Paramedic, you should know several things getting into it that may help you to succeed in your job.

  • More often than not the calls that paramedics go on will not get the adrenaline going
  • People are not as educated about medical emergencies as they should be
  • The road is a dangerous place
  • People have vastly different views on what is and what is not an emergency.

Many emergency calls are medical in nature, i.e. someone passed-out and is awake when the medics get there, a person is having some confusion, someone is experiencing some chest pain, and so on. Though these are emergencies that provide the paramedic with an opportunity to aid someone in need, and can be very exciting at times, they easily become routine to a seasoned paramedic. When entering the field of prehospital emergency medicine it is a good idea for the future paramedic to remember that not all emergency well be exciting and that they should find joy in helping people with even the smallest of complaints. Much of a medic's job will feel a lot like a taxi service, or an aid station that deals with minor complaints. Knowing that there will be days and even weeks that may go by between the really exciting calls can help make your paramedic career last.

EMS has not done a very good job of educating the public about how to respond to medical emergencies. Many bystanders will do things that may not be helpful due to a lack of education and a desire to aid the person in need. I have seen people performing CPR on a person who had passed out but was breathing and had a strong pulse. Things like this are very frustrating for the educated medic who knows what needs to happen to help the person in need. Instead of complaining about these incidents it may be better to view them as teaching moments and explain to the "good samaritan" what they should have done instead, in a constructive way as the situation will allow. Any education in first aid that a paramedic can provide to the public will be helpful in providing rapid effective care to those in need and may limit the amount of non-emergency calls that are placed each day to the 911 system. Understanding that educating people about first aid is a part of the paramedics job can make these situations less frustrating and also help to prevent then from happening in the future.

Driving lights and sirens, going through red lights, and passing traffic in the oncoming lanes is very exciting when a person first get into EMS, however it is important that the new EMT or paramedic know that many people respond poorly to the presence of emergency vehicles on the road and some people will even drive like they are not there at all. Emergence driving should be covered in any EMS class and on the job but I want to advise anyone considering this field that many accident are caused by emergency driving. Breaching intersections in an ambulance is one of, if not the most, deadly aspects of being a paramedic or EMT. The dangers of emergency driving can be reduced by always watching other drivers and stopping at every intersection to insure that the other vehicles come to a complete stop before proceeding. Even so, accident will still happen, some drivers see the ambulance and stop hard while the person behind them did not see it and rear-end the car that stopped. Drivers may also just pull into another lane without looking after noticing the ambulance behind them, and hit another vehicle. For these reason paramedics can not go light and sirens all the time and driving light and sirens is dangerous no matter how safe the driver behind the wheel of the ambulance is. Once a paramedic starts driving emergency traffic it is important for them to always be aware of other drivers and to be extra careful, a bad traffic accident can end a new paramedics career in a blink of an eye.

Some people can break their hand or foot and drive themselves to the hospital, and others may sprain their wrist and think that it is an emergency worthy of calling 911 for, because they can not handle the pain. For many paramedics neither of these situations would be a reason that they would call for an ambulance, as such it can be very difficult to be sympathetic to everyone's situation. And the fact that a call can come in for a 30 year old man who has been vomiting for 3 days, right after performing CPR on an infant, can make it even more challenging to sympathize with the 30 year old. Situations like this are part of the paramedics job and no matter how small an emergency may seem it is still an emergency to the person that called. It can be easy for a paramedic to let the scenes that do not seem urgent get to them, thinking that the person is wasting there time. This sort of attitude can shorten a career by causing them to become frustrated with their job. It is beneficial to keep in mind, going into the field, that not all calls are emergencies and not all emergencies will always seem to be.

The frustration that can result for EMS being less about emergencies and more about being there for people when they do not feel good can easily cause a paramedic to become burned out with their job, and thus fail as a medic. Saving lives may be what we get into this job for and may be the most rewarding part of our job, but It is equally or more important to your success as a paramedic to be content with helping people in the small matters as well, because that is what much of our job is about. Paramedicen is a very exciting and rewarding job and one that I am proud to be part of, but having the right mind set getting into it and maintaining that mindset is very important for longevity as a paramedic.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Nate K.M. 

      3 years ago

      I'm a junior in high school right now and I'm wanting to go into paramedicine; this helped out a lot with my decision. Hopefully, I can get a position in Seattle, because where I live paramedics and EMT's are basically used to help with car accidents (because no on can drive in the south); and that's about it. So, thanks again for the help in this article, and thank you for your service!

    • profile image

      gratitude 14 

      4 years ago

      hello and thank you for this expalnation it is a very helpful source and has made me think of what i want to do with my life

    • Jason DEF profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason DEF 

      6 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the kind words. I will strive to keep my hubs interesting and/or helpful.

    • profile image

      Nate M at AMH 

      6 years ago

      Nice job, Jason. These are all things we've talked about and dealt with for years, but it's refreshing to see them all written down.

    • oldcoincollector profile image


      6 years ago

      Very interesting and makes you appreciate the people who do this sort of work that much more

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      I liked how you made a bullet list of them, then expanded on each one. You make some good points here - I have never understood why people don't get out of the way when an ambulance or some other emergency vehicle needs to get through. Voted up and interesting.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)