As an ambulance technician (or emergency medical technician), you would respond to accident and emergency calls, as well as a range of planned and unplanned non-emergency cases. You would usually work in a team, providing support to a paramedic during the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients at the scene of an incident and during hospital transfers. You may use life saving skills as part of your day-to-day work.
When out on an emergency call, you may have little warning of the exact circumstances you are about to face. Situations could range from helping someone back into bed after a fall, to a major traffic collision with several casualties.
Once at the scene of an accident or emergency, your duties would include:
You would also decide which type of pre-hospital emergency care was most suitable and carry out certain treatments, for example:
Your duties would also include making routine checks on your vehicle and cleaning, storing and checking ambulance equipment. Throughout the working day you would keep in regular contact with the emergency dispatch centre (also known as command and control).
Typical full-time hours are 37.5 a week, including nights, weekends and bank holidays. Part-time hours may also be available.
You would spend much of your time out on the road. When transferring patients, your work may involve heavy lifting, bending and carrying.
You would wear a uniform, including a bright jacket, protective boots and, in some services, a stab proof vest.
You are likely to face some difficult situations, including emotionally distressed clients and verbal aggression from people under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Ambulance technicians, where they are still employed, can earn between around £18,100 and £22,000 a year.
Extra allowances (known as salary uplifts) may be paid to workers in certain geographical areas, and to those expected to be on standby, work unsocial hours or rotational shifts.
Following a major review, it is no longer possible to enter the ambulance service as a trainee ambulance technician in some parts of the UK. Many ambulance services are phasing out this role altogether, and others are only recruiting qualified and experienced technicians.
For existing technicians, there will be a period of transition.
Available opportunities are likely to include:
Pursuing work as an ambulance technician with ambulance services which are continuing to recruit qualified technicians
transferring into the role of an Emergency Care Assistant (ECA) progressing to Paramedic, for example by applying for a student paramedic post.
For further advice, you can check with local ambulance services (see the NHS Choices website for a list of local ambulance trusts), and NHS Careers.
As a qualified technician you would be expected to attend regular training sessions to help keep your skills up to date.
You would also be reassessed periodically.
As an ambulance technician you would respond to accident and emergency calls, as well as a range of planned and unplanned non-emergency cases. You would usually work in a team, providing support to a paramedic during the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients at the scene of an incident and during hospital transfers.
You may use life saving skills as part of your day-to-day work.
An ambulance technician needs:
You could find opportunities for secondment or promotion in the ambulance control room, in a training role or in human resources.
Traditionally staff joining the ambulance service could work their way up with experience and additional training from care assistant, through ambulance technician to paramedic. However, this route is no longer open to new entrants. Anyone wishing to work as a paramedic will now need to either secure a student paramedic position with an ambulance service trust, or attend an approved full-time course in paramedic science at a university.
PO Box 376,
Bristol BS99 3EY
Tel: 0345 60 60 655
Health Learning and Skills Advice Line
Tel: 08000 150850
College of Paramedics,
The Exchange, Express Park
Bristol Road, Bridgwater TA6 4RR
Tel: 01 278 420014
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