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What is a paramedic?

Paramedics are clinically trained autonomous practitioners who have the knowledge, skills and clinical expertise to assess, treat, diagnose and are able to provide pain relief and other medication.

Would a career as a paramedic be right for me?

Paramedics go into homes or areas where patients are at their most vulnerable, providing advanced life support to those who require immediate medical attention.

Paramedics need to:

  • Understand and assess situations quickly
  • Be calm in a stressful situation, especially when dealing with people’s emotions
  • Be able to make decisions under pressure
  • Be confident, good communicators and listeners
  • Reassuring and good with people
  • Excellent driving skills
  • Prepared to go into unknown/unpredictable situations

What do paramedics do?

Paramedics respond to any medical emergency situation, some of which may be distressing and involve people who are badly hurt or severely traumatised. They provide emergency care at the scene which may involve controlling bleeding, treating wounds and fractures, or dealing with spinal or head injuries. Paramedics use medical and life support equipment (such as a defibrillator) and observe vital signs (breathing, temperature, blood pressure, blood sugar etc). They also have to take relevant information, including a patient’s history and are required to maintain accurate patient records.

Paramedics are able to refer patients to more appropriate care if the patient does not need to be taken to hospital. This may include contacting the patient’s GP or social services.

Where do paramedics work?

Paramedics are key providers of healthcare in the primary, acute and the urgent and emergency care settings. They work either on their own in a rapid response car or on an emergency ambulance with an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). As well as working with EMTs they also work with other members of the ambulance service, such as control room staff. They also work with doctors, nurses and other emergency services, including the fire and police services.

How much do paramedics earn?

In NHS Wales, a paramedic’s starting salary is Band 5; please see our Pay and Benefits section for more information. This can be enhanced with unsocial hour payments of up-to 25%, reflecting the 24-hour nature of the service.

What career progression opportunities are available for paramedics?

Once you’ve qualified and gained appropriate clinical experience, paramedics can go on to become:

  • Specialist Practitioners
  • Advanced Paramedic Practitioners
  • Consultant Paramedics
  • Management
  • Lecturer in a university

How do I become paramedic?

Do I need a degree? In Wales you will need to complete the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) approved DipHE Paramedic Science.
Where can I train in Wales? Swansea University runs the DipHE Paramedic Science. Applications are made directly to the College Of Human and Health Sciences admissions department.
Is there funding available? Yes, for further information about available funding and eligibility please visit Student Awards Services.
Do I need previous experience to apply for the course?

Having any experience in a caring role, both professionally and personally, will be an advantage.

How do I get experience?

To find out about work experience and volunteering opportunities in NHS Wales visit our Work section.

You could undertake a first aid course and volunteer:

How do I apply for a job? All vacancies for NHS Wales are advertised on NHS Jobs. Visit our Work section for more information.

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