Categories: Ambulance

Are ambulance drivers paramedics?

Few paramedics are trained in both medical and driving aspects as these paramedics must be able to handle their repsonsibilites in both roles equally well. Bring trained as a driver and as a medic is not easy even though the effective time spent on each role is only half their working hours.

Few paramedics are trained in both medical and driving aspects as these paramedics must be able to handle their repsonsibilites in both roles equally well. Bring trained as a driver and as a medic is not easy even though the effective time spent on each role is only half their working hours. 

Pros and cons of having medics as drivers

Receiving professional education in both the driver role and medical role is expensive for both the employee and employer. The cost of time and wages has to be borne by the employer whereas the worker has to make sure that the training material is absorbed and functionally, he or she can perform both roles up to the minimum required standards set. 

For a single employee, he simply cannot split himself to be at two places at once to do two jobs. With a single pair of hands, those finger tips can either grip the wheel of the vehicle or pinch the wings of the IV catheter. Unfortunately, dual training does not mean that he can perform dual roles at any one time.

Minimum requirement for a fully functional ambulance

Operationally, a single ambulance must logically have two people on board.

  1. One person is the driver who brings the ambulance from point A to point B.
  2. The second person is the medical attendant who takes care of the patient at the back of the ambulance.

Do paramedics actually want to be drivers?

Some paramedics take offence at being called ambulance drivers because the level of experience and medical training is far lower than that of the paramedic.

For an ambulance driver, the minimum qualifications needed are Basic Life Support (BLS) and CPR + AED certifications in addition to a valid driving license. These amount to less than a week’s training for fresh hires and are renewed on a yearly basis.

For the paramedic however, doing patient charting, administering intravenous theraphy (injections) and performing spinal management are essential skillsets. It is typical that the average paramedic attended school as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or could have been an Enrolled Nurse (EN) for at least 2 years. To attain the license as a paramedic, passing the theory exams, physical practicals and medical checkups (like immunisations and fit-for-work) are mandatory in school as part of a yet another 2 year program. 

Ease of bring an ambulance driver

Paramedics can become drivers easily with a 1-week conversion training. However, for a driver to turn to be a paramedic, this takes 4 years. Alternatively, training to be a medical attendant should take at least 1 year.

The payscale, expectations and responsibilities for each role do differ in magnitude and breadth. It is thus not uncommon for paramedics to shun driver duties

This post was last modified on November 29, 2020 11:18 pm

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