A paramedic is a medical professional who is trained to respond to emergency medical situations. Unlike doctors and nurses who are trained in maintenance care, a paramedic’s area of expertise involves immediate action and treatment. Paramedics work in ambulances and with first response teams, as well as in hospitals. If you are interested in studying to work as a paramedic, it is important to understand the types of classes that you will be taking.
Depending on the school you attend, you will need to take one long class or several smaller classes based on the fundamentals of being a paramedic. These courses give you the first steps of giving a patient emergency care as well as preparing you for the realities of the job. There will also be information on determining a patient’s history and learning how to assess the situation before moving in. Information on how to stabilize the patient may be offered as well. Classes on fundamentals are not always taken at the beginning of your course of study as some classes cover advanced areas.
One important area covered by paramedic’s classes is cardiovascular management. Many paramedical calls are related to heart failure, and these classes teach you about the patient’s heart and circulatory system. Paramedic students are instructed on how to deal with cardiac emergencies and how to use monitoring equipment like electrocardiograms. There is further certification available in this area, should the paramedic student choose to pursue it.
The paramedic student will also be required to have a basic understanding of pharmacology, including how medication affects injuries and appropriate emergency responses. Some treatments that the paramedic student must master include injection, inhaled treatment and intravenous dosing. Assessment is another important part of this type of class work, as the paramedics need to understand how existing drugs in the system affect treatment options.
Classes on dealing immediately with trauma are found at both the beginning and the end of the paramedic’s coursework. Topics range from dealing with different types of injuries, to injuries that affect more than one system of the body to burns.
Paramedic classes also teach paramedic students how to handle their patients. Depending on the situation they are dealing with, people who receive paramedic care may be frightened, angry or even aggressive. Students are taught how to convince the patients to work with them and how to calm them as well.
If you are considering becoming a paramedic, between 18 and 24 months of coursework may be required. Consider the classes that you will be taking and think about how your career goals relate to them.