What’s it like to be a paramedic in the UK?

In the UK, we hear many news stories about Australian paramedics being lured by the opportunities to work for some of the largest ambulance services in the country. The English paramedics have their own versions of what it takes to become a paramedic and offers an incredible insight for paramedics from other countries.

East Midlands Ambulance Service technician Liz Canham tells her story and says for her, being a paramedic it is the chance to make a big difference to people’s lives that makes her job a real privilege.

Being a mother-of-three and a paramedic can be a challenging juggling match a lot of the time, although Liz has been an emergency medical technician (EMT)  for 13 years and has never looked back once.

Now, as EMAS is looking to enhance its service by recruiting more EMTs, she shares her experiences and everything she has gained as a part of the service.

paramedic UK service

Photo courtesy of Northantstelegraph.co.uk

As a Paramedic, you can not possibly get bored!

Liz said…“What’s so great about the job of a paramedic is that you cannot possibly get bored, because you never know what’s round the corner.”

“It’s a very busy life and when you clock on your shift, it’s usually a matter of seconds before you are called out on your first job.”

Liz joined EMAS part-time when her children started getting older. She does two 12-hour night shifts a week.

She did her intensive training, meaning she is qualified to give first aid, administer drugs, deal with emergency medical situations and call the shots on whether a patient should go to A&E or they can treated on the spot.

“everyone who works together are supportive of each other”

She said: “An EMT will always be in a crew of at least two, maybe with another EMT or a paramedic; and everyone who works together are supportive of each otherit’s like having a work family.

We are also other’s counsellors, because if one of us has to attend to something traumatic, we always support one another and there’s always the opportunity for a bit of a laugh to lighten the situation.

“I absolutely love it

“I joined because I wanted to do something really worthwhile, and I absolutely love it.

I couldn’t work in an office environment after this being a paramedic

“It is a true privilege of a job. We go into people’s homes when they are at their most vulnerable. We support both patients and their families.

“There are some situations when you are there at the end of someone’s life, which can be so sad in cases where, for example, a couple have been married 50 or 60 years and then one dies quietly in their sleep.

“But then you also attend births, where you are at the very beginning of someone’s life.

“Even in cases when you might just be holding a patient’s or a loved one’s hand to help them feel safe in a difficult situation, all you need is a simple thank you to show how much of a difference you are making to people’s lives every day.”

Whether working as an EMT, emergency care assistant (ECA) or a qualified paramedic, The UK EMAS frontline staff are called to a huge array of situation all over the UK.

“it’s essentially about making life better for normal people”

“It’s not all about blood and guts, like they show on TV,” said Mrs Canham, “many times it’s essentially about making life better for normal people“.

“In most cases, patients and families trust and depend on you completely. It’s a big responsibility.

“I love working with people. This job has made me more patient than I was ever before and has also given me a greater understanding of people; and the variety of different things that they go through every single day – especially those with mental health problems.

“Often, they just really need to be listened to and I try to take the time to give them that.

“Raising three daughters has certainly given me some practice.

“Being a paramedic can be exhausting, but it is so rewarding.”

“Every time I come home from a shift I feel like I have made a difference.”

EMAS recruitment drives fill the UK paramedic gap

Blanche Lentz, EMAS general manager for Northamptonshire and qualified paramedic, said the UK service is recruiting more technicians to combat the increasing demand across the United Kingdom.

“increased pressure on health services”

She said: “Northamptonshire is showing increased pressure on health services and, while it has a difficult health economy, targets are being missed.

“We currently have a gap in mixed skills front line staff and we want to ensure the county is getting the best care it possibly can across all sectors”.

“As a paramedic myself, I know it’s a job that gives you the chance to really give something back to your own community.

“While you get all sorts of training and always have the opportunity to keep moving further up the ladder, it’s hugely satisfying knowing you are able to give the right care to a patient that will.”

Looking for full-time recruits

The service is looking for full-time recruits with at least five GCSEs of grade C or above and a full or provisional C1 driving licence – for medium-sized vehicles.

Successful applicants will be put on a 13-week course, which includes learning how to drive emergency response vehicles and practical and theoretical medical training to deal with a wide range of emergencies.

They look for people who have two years experience in some sort of caring job, but the priority is for hands-on people who are good at communication at all different levels.”

If you join the team, you will get great support, enjoy the role, and get to work with excellent clinicians across divisions.

Information for Australian trainee paramedics

Once again we have reports coming out of the UK about the chronic shortage of medics and trained paramedics. The Northamptonshire  ambulance service have a 13 week course to get people started on their new career.

The UK has been a haven for younger medics who are in search of adventure and variety; with an opportunity to further develop their careers.

Many medics train in Australia and complete their Certificate IV in Health Care. Then do their diploma and often head to the UK.

The amount of work in the UK is staggering, with almost every ambulance service in the country struggling to meet the growing demands of a bulging population.

Thinking of becoming a paramedic?

If you are thinking of becoming a paramedic, the Australian Paramedical College can get you started on your journey through our pathway training.

Of course, paramedics in Australia are expected to hold a degree in Paramedic Science in order to be employed by a state-run ambulance service. No matter…many students of the College, complete the Cert IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma; and realise they have completed half their degree already – at a fraction of the cost of going to university full time.

“study to fit in with your lifestyle”

One of the big advantages of studying to become a paramedic by distance or online learning is you can study to fit in with your lifestyle, or job; and you don’t end up with a big HECS debt.

After completing a Certificate IV in Health Care, qualified students can work in the industry as a Basic Life Support Medic. These jobs are mainly with private companies and organisations, however, this is a great opportunity to work in the industry and get invaluable experience too.

“complete your training up to Advanced Diploma level within 18 months”

Many students get into the routine of study; and with a bit of dedication, can complete their training within 18-24 months. As a qualified medic with a HLT51020-Diploma of Emergency Health Care, you can really start to make yourself known to employers in the UK and Europe.

Becoming a paramedic (get a free eBook here becoming a paramedic) is not as difficult as you may think. As Liz said, her job as a paramedic is very satisfying and she loves the variety the job offers, plus you make great friendships along the way.

Contact the Australian Paramedical College on 1300 377 741 for more information on pathways to becoming a paramedic.

What is your career journey?

To discover how you can become a fully qualified Ambulance Paramedic or Basic/Advanced Life Support Medic, complete a personalised paramedical career development plan.