Paramedic Āpiha Whakaora

Paramedics assess and treat people who are seriously ill or injured, and transport them to hospital if necessary.

Paramedics need an Authority to Practice, which is issued by their employer after they pass yearly assessments.

Paramedics may do some or all of the following:

  • attend medical emergencies and accidents
  • triage patients (work out which patients need to be treated first)
  • treat ill and injured people, including those with traumatic injuries and shock
  • give pain relief, including intravenous (IV) treatment
  • stabilise patients and transport them to and from medical facilities
  • attend large gatherings, such as sports and music events, in case of accidents or illness
  • record patient information and follow handover procedures when transferring patients
  • clean their ambulance.

Paramedics may also do specialised rescue work in air ambulances and rescue helicopters.

To specialise as a flight paramedic you need to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences, endorsed in aeromedical retrieval and transport.

Physical Requirements

Paramedics need to have excellent fitness and health. They must be strong as they lift patients and equipment.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for paramedics includes work in:

  • hospitals and other health services
  • ambulance and patient transport
  • emergency services call centres
  • the New Zealand Defence Force as a medic.

A defensive driving course may also be useful.

Personal Qualities

Paramedics need to be:

  • understanding towards others, caring, and empathetic
  • excellent communicators who work well in teams
  • alert and able to work well under pressure and in emergencies
  • problem solvers and good decision makers
  • respectful of different cultural and religious beliefs
  • resilient.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for paramedics includes work in:

  • hospitals and other health services
  • ambulance and patient transport
  • emergency services call centres
  • the New Zealand Defence Force as a medic.

A defensive driving course may also be useful.

Subject Recommendations

NCEA Level 3 is required to enter tertiary training. Useful subjects include biology, chemistry, health, maths and English.

Paramedics can earn around $74K-$76K per year per year.

With further training, paramedics may progress to become:

  • intensive care paramedics (ICPs), who provide more advanced treatment than paramedics
  • flight paramedics, who work in air ambulances and rescue helicopters.

They may also move into management or education roles.

Paramedics may specialise in:

  • search and rescue
  • pre-hospital care at locations such as oil rigs, super yachts and ski fields
  • international relief work, and work in conflict zones
  • research and education.
Paramedic

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