Interviewer:What motivated you to become a paramedic, Sam?
Sam: I am often asked that question by my friends and people I meet because they think that it is a very stressful and emotional job and they can’t see themselves doing it. I sometimes ask myself why I do it when I am more mentally and physically exhausted than you would ever think possible. But I know the answer. Being a paramedic is exciting, rewarding, emotional and never dull. And you always have to be on your toes. What other job offers that? I have been a paramedic for nine years, and no other job ever tempts me to change.
Interviewer: Did you adapt well to all the demands of the job right from the beginning?
Sam: I knew what the job involved. And the training to become a paramedic is very thorough, and involves lots of practical exercises as well as theory. But the one thing I had difficulty with was working with needles. It took me a long time to get used to sticking a needle into someone. I have always hated having injections myself, and I'm still very careful when I have to use a needle. But patients tell me I'm very good!
Interviewer: What advice would you give to a teenager who was thinking about becoming a paramedic?
Sam: You should get experience caring for people - at elerly homes, orphanages, refugee centres and so on. There are lots of voluntary schemes around that teenagers can join where they can be of help. A careers adviser at school can help with this.
Interviewer: What sort of person makes a good paramedic?
Sam: A paramedic has to be lots of characters all rolled into one: a social worker, a nurse, a carer, a rescuer. The most important thing is to be a good and patient listener. And you have to have a good sense of humour and be able to laugh at some of the situations you find yourself in.
Interviewer: What qualifications do you need to become a paramedic?
Sam: You need good results from school and a good personal reference. The best route into the career is through university training. In many countries, a university course is really the only way to get into the job. But when you go for your university interview, they will be looking at your personality and attitudes as well as how you've done at school. When you’ve done your training, you have to accept that you will not be working regular hours. If you want a job that starts at nine and finishes at five, forget it.
Interviewer: What is the hardest part of your job?
Sam: There isn’t ‘a hardest part’. The job is always tough because you are dealing with people who need help.
Interviewer: Thanks, Sam. Chatting to you about your job has been very enlightening.
Sam: Don’t mention it! It’s been a pleasure.