Career choices

Posted: August 10, 2012 in Personal, Work
Tags: , , , ,

As I said last night – I’ve wanted to be a paramedic longer than I can remember. It’s been a career that has always appealed – I’ve never wanted a 9-5 job, I’ve always wanted to help people, and I’ve always wanted to be the guy who drives to work in the morning, or is on the train, and I look around, and know that I’m different to everyone else.

But equally – I love the anonymity the uniform provides. I love that I can see a patient and potentially make a difference in their life, or ease the pain for them or their family, but that as soon as I walk away, they won’t remember my name, just that someone in green was there to help them when they needed it. Every patient means something to me. I have notebooks with brief details in on every patient I’ve seen so far – it helps with reflection and learning, but also makes me realise how crazy work can be.

But so far, through all the jobs that I did during my undergraduate degree, and all the other jobs I’ve had – I’ve still always wanted to be a paramedic. And it feels right, I feel like it’s the place that I fit.

Though recently – some people have been questioning why I’m happy “just being a paramedic”. I’ve encountered this attitude both at work, and out of it. I’m sure I’m capable of going further, training as a doctor, as people suggest. But why? That would defeat the whole point of becoming a paramedic. Of being on the frontline, just me and a crewmate, dealing with whatever the shift throws our way. Of adapting and improvising to treat the patient as effectively as possible. Of being an ever present anonymous guy in a green uniform, there for when people need us, 24/7/365.

Yes, I want to push myself further in my career, but still remaining a paramedic. I want to specialise, I want to push the ambulance service forward. Heck, I want to push MYSELF forward. But, at the end of the day, I always want to be a paramedic.

  1. scottie16903 says:

    I would beg to differ about the instant forgetability (if that’s a word). There was a period where my father was very ill over a long period which necessitated many trips in ambulances and encountering many medics. You’re right, I don’t remember their names (although I don’t remember many names) but I do remember each of them. They were uniformly lovely people however the thing I remember most about them was the pervasive air of calm around them (especially when everyone else was beginning to flap). I doubt my experience is unique. You will undoubtedly be seen principally as a uniform but don’t underestimate the calming effect of injecting a bit of personality.

    As for the “just a paramedic” line, I agree with you. It’s complete bollocks. Admittedly, the role is widely misunderstood even in the healthcare profession however that’s not really an excuse. As for doctors being the be-all and end-all of medical practice. Again. Really? Certainly it’s the most lucrative arm and offers the best chance to gain really detailed subject knowledge but on the other hand it involves a lot of fiddling, tweaking and minor adjustments that may or may not do any good. In addition, the higher up you go in most specialisms, the less patient contact you get. Compare that to being a paramedic which, as far as I can tell, is pretty much all hands on and can test a vast spectrum of your skills over the course of one shift. In addition to that, you have to use those skills in places which are essentially the antithesis of nice, well lit, warm hospitals adding a new level of skill to your repertoire. Now who’s facing a challenge?

    How do you see yourself developing the role and pushing yourself forward? Given the profession seems to be taking large leaps forward at the moment, now seems like an ideal time to do it.

    Good luck to you. You sound like you will be a tremendous asset to whichever service you work for.


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