MediPro have delivered several commercial paramedic courses over the years, with the business being the largest independent provider of pre-hospital education in the UK.
But what is a paramedic? What are their duties and how do you become one? Here, we have a guide to help you with all things paramedic.
What is a Paramedic? What duties do they have?
Anyone who’s watched a hospital drama will have some idea of what a paramedic does, and although the job isn’t all sirens & blue lights, it’s still an exciting career choice!
Paramedics are registered healthcare professionals who work autonomously, providing care in a range of healthcare settings. They usually work within emergency, primary or urgent care, but may also specialise in other fields.
Paramedics are the senior clinicians on an ambulance, providing immediate and emergency care in response to 999 calls from the public. They sometimes also work alone in a rapid response car.
They are trained to make decisions in complex and high-pressure situations in unfamiliar and often unpredictable environments.
Paramedics have expertise in dealing with critically ill and injured patients, using an advanced skillset, complex equipment and a range of medications to treat them.
They are skilled at history taking, consultation skills and examination and are educated in a wide range of illness and injuries, from newborns and babies to the elderly and those at the end of their life.
They work closely with other healthcare teams, including GPs, nurses, mental health crisis teams and pharmacists, as well as colleagues from the police, fire and rescue services and coastguard.
Many paramedics are also independent prescribers, meaning they can prescribe medications to patients that will help manage their conditions.
In recent years, the paramedic profession has evolved, with paramedics now being found working in multiple health settings. These include general practice, minor injury units, urgent care centres, walk-in centres and A&E departments, telehealth and telecare services and in remote and offshore sectors.
What is the salary for a Paramedic? What are the typical shift patterns?
According to the Agenda for Change (AFC) pay system, paramedic typically start at Band 5, progressing to Band 6 after two years.
So, after of 2022/23, the starting pay for a paramedic is £27,055, with the possibly of increasing all the way to £40,588. This is based on the standard working week of 37.5 hours.
Shift patterns for paramedics will usually include nights, early starts, evenings, weekends and bank holidays.
Is there the possibility of career progression?
Once you’ve qualified, you could become a team leader, supervising other paramedics and emergency care assistants, specialise in a specific area like strokes, or work for the air ambulance. With additional training, you could become an experienced paramedic, which is a senior role with more responsibilities. Teaching, research and management roles are other options.
The role of the paramedic has evolved. They are now working in a wider range of roles and clinical environments outside of the NHS ambulance service, including:
- Accident and emergency
- Minor injury or urgent care
- Acute medicine
- Intensive care
- General practice
- Admission avoidance teams
- Palliative care
- 111 services.
What do I need to become a Paramedic?
To become a paramedic, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). To register with the HCPC, you need to have successfully completed an approved qualification in paramedic science.
There are different routes to studying and qualifying as a paramedic. You can:
- take a full-time approved qualification in paramedic science (i.e., at a university) and then apply to an ambulance service for a job as a qualified paramedic
- apply for a role as a student paramedic with an ambulance service and study while you work
- apply for a degree standard apprenticeship in paramedic science with an ambulance service
Becoming a paramedic takes between two and four years. The course includes a mixture of theory and practical work including placements with ambulance services and other healthcare settings.
Each University or Ambulance Service sets its own entry requirements, so it’s important to check carefully what you will need.
Entry to paramedic courses is very competitive and it may help you if you have some relevant experience or training. You could:
- volunteer as a first responder with a charity or social enterprise, like St John Ambulance
- volunteer with an NHS ambulance trust
- work at a residential care home or day care centre
- get a first aid certificate
- work in an office-based job for an ambulance service
Our Paramedic course
Subject to HCPC approval, MediPro will be delivering a new, 4-year, part-time paramedic programme from our training centre in Stockton-on-Tees.
This programme will commence twice a year during April and September.
The part-time nature of our paramedic course allows flexibility for learners, meaning they can earn while they learn.
The programme is innovative in its approach, delivering teaching, learning and assessment strategies using a blended approach of teaching and learning styles. These include lectures, group activities, tutorials, directed study, independent learning and practice-based education.
Once all elements are successfully completed, learners will receive a Level 6 Diploma Paramedic Practitioner qualification awarded by FutureQuals. This will mean they are eligible to apply to the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) for Paramedic registration.
The minimum entry criteria for the course are as follows:
- Minimum of Literacy and Numeracy Level 2, or equivalent. Equivalent qualiﬁcations include GCSE level A*-C, or the new GCSE standard 9-4, Scotland National Level 5 or International Level 4 (PIAAC, AILS, ALL)
- Achievement of Level 4 Diploma in Associate Ambulance Practitioner (AAP), or equivalent. Any equivalent qualiﬁcation would need to go through a full RPL mapping process
All learners will who pass the entry screening will be invited for a professional interview.
The Level 6 Paramedic Practitioner course consists of Level 5 and Level 6 modules, with 110 credits at Level 5 and 130 credits at Level 6. The programme modules are as follows:
- Clinical practice application – paramedic practice
- Applying communication skills in practice
- Socio-Economic influences on illness and injury
- Introduction into evidence-based research
- Advancing clinical practice
- Healthcare systems and organisational structures
- Ethics and professional standards for the developing healthcare professional
Practice-based education is a key part of the programme and is designed to be varied and engaging to help foster your new knowledge, skills and behaviours. Arranged in busy NHS Ambulance Trusts and hospitals, your placements will be challenging and rewarding.
Practice-based education breakdown by placement provider:
- North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust – Ambulance (300 hours of placement)
- North Tees Hospital NHS Trust – A&E department (80 hours of placement)
- North Tees Hospital NHS Trust – Theatres (40 hours of placement)
- North Tees Hospital NHS Trust – Admissions and Elderly Care (40 hours of placement)
- North Tees Hospital NHS Trust – ITU/ICU (40 hours of placement)
- Total Hours of Placements – 500 hours
- North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust – Ambulance (200 hours of placement)
- North Tees Hospital NHS Trust – Paediatrics (40 hours of placement)
- North Tees Hospital NHS Trust – MIU/Urgent Care (80 hours of placement)
- North Tees Hospital NHS Trust – Maternity (40 hours of placement)
- Total Hours of Placements – 360 hours
Learners will receive plenty of support throughout the programme. This includes:
- Personal tutor allocation – each learner will be allocated a single point of contact tutor to help co-ordinate any additional support needed
- Academic support – learners will have access to academic writing support staﬀ
- Occupational support – all learners will be required to undergo health screening and clearance for practice through our occupational partners. Additional support is available as and when required
- Tutorials – learners will participate in regular face-to-face and/or online tutorial meetings
- Pastoral support – learners have access to dedicated pastoral support
- Practice Placement Facilitator – support throughout practice-based education
- Safeguarding support – whilst in practice, all learners have access to a dedicated Safeguarding Lead
- Additional support includes access to IT facilities and access to reference materials including books and journals.
If you would like to find out more about our Paramedic Practitioner course, please visit the Ambulance section of our website. To register your interest for the course, call us on 01325 609030.