A Day in the Life
How did you become interested in the field of health care?
I started working in emergency care because of my dad. He is a deputy sheriff and I liked the idea of responding to emergencies, but I didn’t want a gun. I decided to become a paramedic instead, which still provides an adrenaline rush. I would eventually like to become a firefighter paramedic.
What does it take to become a paramedic?
I spent about two and half years working as an emergency medical technician (EMT) before starting a one-year training program to become a paramedic. Getting the hands-on experience with patients reinforced my decision to advance my education.
What’s an average day like for a you?
I work on a special team with an EMT and a registered nurse. We work in conjunction with the police and fire departments. My job is to stabilize the patient in life-and-death situations.
We work long shifts — 12 hours — responding to medical and trauma emergencies and transporting critically ill patients to other hospitals. However, we aren’t responding to calls the whole time. There are days I spend a lot of time just hanging out with my team and other coworkers waiting for a call to come in.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
My advice to anyone getting started is not to wait around. Once you’ve completed your six-month requirement as an EMT go straight into a paramedic training program.
For the women thinking about becoming paramedics, it is true that it’s a male-dominated field. Just don’t let that prevent you from a rewarding career. Remember to be strong and don’t let anyone say you can’t do it.
You should also be prepared for the fact that depending on where you choose to work as an EMT or paramedic, you don’t get paid as much as you might expect compared to other fields. In the end, the pay isn’t so important if you’re doing something you love. I guarantee you will never forget the rush when you get your first 911 call — or save a life.