Paramedics are required to possess many skills, but it is the non-technical skills of paramedics that allow them to excel in their careers and provide the best possible patient care.
Along with the appropriate clinical knowledge and the necessary training and qualifications, the non-technical skills of paramedics means they’re able to work effectively with their crew, collaborate with other Allied Health Care professionals and overall enhance the standard of care for patients.
There are many non-technical skills that are recommended for paramedics, here are the top 5:
Strong written and verbal communication skills are imperative non-technical skills of paramedics. They are required to be in constant communication with their patient and their family members, their ambulance partner, the dispatch crew, hospital staff and other emergency service crew. Strong communication not only means being able to write and speak well, it’s the ability to adapt communication styles depending on the situation, and being able to express yourself professionally.
Emotional Intelligence is an essential non-technical skill for all paramedics. It refers to the ability to understand your own emotions, and thus read and respond to other’s emotions appropriately. Emotional intelligence is a non-technical skill that encompasses things like empathy, compassion, enhanced teamwork and patient experience. “A high IQ will get you through school, a high EQ will get you through life.” ~ unknown
Without appropriate situational awareness, it is possible that paramedics, their patients, and the public may be at risk, which is why is it one of the most important non-technical skills of paramedics.
Situational awareness is the continued assessment of the environmental elements of a scene. It requires the use of all your senses and being aware of your surroundings at all times.
It’s easy to have tunnel vision on the specific issue your patient is describing, but what makes a great medic is the ability to be situationally aware with keen observational skills as the call progresses or changes.
The pre-hospital emergency health care industry is rapidly evolving. With continuous updates to clinical best practices, plus technological advancements, paramedics must be flexible in order to keep up! Being open to change and adaptability are non-technical skills of paramedics that will serve you well in your paramedical career.
It’s important to consider safety as both an essential technical and non-technical skill of paramedics. This encompasses safety for yourself, your patient and the public bystanders. Safety should always be at the top of your mind, just as Danger is the first thing you should assess upon arrival at a scene. You will not be able to help your patients if something happens to you, this alone should be enough for you to consider safety as a key element of the non-technical skillset of paramedics.
You should now see that these non-technical skills of paramedics are just as important as their ability to provide clinical treatment.
At the Australian Paramedical College, we teach all these same non-technical skills to our Diploma of Emergency Health Care students. The non-technical skills of paramedics form a large part of how we teach and develop our students to excel in their medic careers in the private sector.