The Competencies Required To Become A Paramedic
Thousands of people each year want to become paramedics but only a small number of those people ever realise their dream and go on to ride the Ambulances. The main reason why so many people fail the selection process is because they do not provide evidence at the application and interview stage of where they meet the competencies. In this article we will explore the different competencies required to become an operational paramedic.
STAYING CALM IN AN EMERGENCY
As a paramedic you will be required to treat patients in very difficult and challenging situations. For example, whilst on duty at 11:30pm on a Friday night you are more than likely going to be called out to casualties who are under the influence of alcohol. During times like these your resolve will be tested to the limit. People under the influence of alcohol can react angrily and aggressively and you will need to remain calm and deal with them in a resilient manner. You will not be able to take insults personally and whilst you will not accept any form of abuse or harassment, it will be your job to treat the casualty in their current state. This takes great skills and patience, which is why you will be assessed against your ability to stay calm in an emergency situation during the application form and interview.
ABILITY TO LEARN NEW AND TECHNICAL INFORMATION
Some elements of the paramedic role are technical and require an ability to learn and retain large amounts of job relevant information. During your paramedic training you will be assessed on your progress to date and if you do not keep up with the information being taught then you will fall behind. Not only do paramedics have to learn their basic training but they also have to learn continuous professional development throughout the duration of their careers. You will be constantly assessed during your career to make sure you keep up-to-date with the competencies.
WORKING SHIFTS AND UNSOCIABLE HOURS
As a paramedic you are going to work some very unsociable hours. Most people in the UK work a 9-5 job. However, our paramedic can work very difficult shifts so that they are able to provide cover 365 days a year. If you have never worked shifts before then this can be difficult. It is important that trainee paramedics have the support of their partners and family as it can cause a lot of strain on relationships’ if someone in the household is working for many weekends at a time. You need to be 100% certain that this is the job for you.
WORKING IN PRESSURISED SITUATIONS
Picture the scene – you are newly trained paramedic and you are called to a house fire at 3am. A member of the public is suffering from severe smoke inhalation and burns and it is your hob to treat them immediately whilst following your training. Could you do it? You will be often working under extremely pressurised situations and you will need to be sure that you can cope with the pressure. We work in a modern age where the eyes of the media are constantly watching us. The press will print stories where paramedics and other members of the emergency service have allegedly not been performing to the standards we all expect of them. A typical paramedic interview question based around this competency would be:
“Can you give us an example of when you have carried out a difficult and pressurised task whilst working under pressure?”
See here to learn more about the qualities and competencies required to become a paramedic.