LEARN ABOUT THE LIFE OF A EMT TURNED PARAMEDIC: A PATH WORTH TAKING.
Learning about a career from career guide and course manuals can only give you so much information. Take a look inside the life of an EMT to understand what it’s really like in the field. Jobs like these are important and challenging, making them all the more rewarding. Working out of Chicago, this paramedic gives us an inside look at how he got here, why he chose it, and how he contributes to the lives of others while on duty.
HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
When I was 19 years old, I decided that I wanted to be a firefighter like my father. He was a part timer firefighter in my town’s fire department, which helped me get my foot in the door for EMS. After completing EMT school, I was hired in my hometown. Two years ago, I left the fire side of the EMS to become a paramedic at a private ambulance company in the suburbs of Chicago.
HOW DID YOU KNOW THIS WAS THE RIGHT PATH?
I get asked all the time why I wanted to take this path. Put simply, I wanted to help people. But more than that, I wanted to be the person that people looked to in their most dire moment. I wanted to be there to lend a comforting hand, to literally have a chance to save lives.
I was working a shift a few months after being hired when we got a call for an unresponsive male. When we got on scene, the patient was in cardiac arrest. Now mind you I was an brand new EMT and was surrounded by Paramedics who have a lot more experience. They were like whirlwind around me calling out vitals, starting IVs, and drawing up various drugs. I was put on CPR duty was told not to stop until they were about to shock him. That was the first patient that I ever did CPR on, and we got a heartbeat on the way to the hospital. Not long after, though, the patient expired. As an EMT, there are very few things you can do to help a patient in cardiac arrest (CPR, shock, and give oxygen) and wait for Paramedics to arrive with drugs that can further the chances of saving lives. That’s when I knew: I wanted to do more—I wanted be a paramedic.
So it’s not like Hollywood, it can easily start to feel like, more often the not, the outcome of what could be called a “true emergency” is sad. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it because maybe one day you’ll get to see a person that you saved when you are walking down the street.
DOING MORE AS A PARAMEDIC
This path is a very rewarding one—getting the chance to save lives and help in times of great stress are part of what makes these roles so important. Moving up in these positions can bring an even greater sense of what your service means to your community. In these roles, getting an advanced degree can mean an enhanced sense of leadership, a deeper understanding of public service, and more thorough knowledge of the field. A Master’s in Public Administration might be right for you if advancing to leadership roles sounds like your next step. Specializations in things like Fire and Rescue, Emergency Management, and Public Safety open new doors for EMTs and Paramedics that can help them better serve their communities.