Advice for new Paramedics

“Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement”

Experience is something that graduate paramedics inevitably lack. However, the perspective that comes with experience can be shared and it can influence our culture, and ultimately what type of people our novice colleagues grow into.

Today, I want to share with you advice that has come from many of our listeners and colleagues, aimed at new paramedics and students. So, if you are new to our business, listen well, as this will not only help you develop into expert clinicians, but also into respected professionals and just good people.

Be respectful

  1. “It may not be an emergency to you but it is to your patient and their families”
  2. “Always ask yourself, what would I expect if it was me. Then this is what you should give your patient”
  3. “Listen with open ears and an open mind. Treat as you would want to be treated”
  4. “Always remember the patient’s name
  5. If you struggle, write it down. You will lose trust from the patient and their family if you have to keep asking”
  6. “Be kind and apologise if you make a mistake”
  7. “Just because the body is old, doesn’t mean the mind is. Treat our seniors with respect and they may allow you to have theirs”

Be a measured clinician

  1. “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”
  2. “There is no such thing as a shit job. Every patient presents an opportunity to practice and hone your skills and you might get a surprise by what you find”
  3. “Keep a notebook, or a list on your phone, for anything you come across during your shift that you don’t know about. Write it down and look it up later”
  4. “You never know enough. Ask questions. Know your truck thoroughly, and keep studying”
  5. “What makes you great at your job is basic skills and comprehensive assessments”
  6. “Listen to every chest, and do airway skills on as many jobs as you can”
  7. “Complacency kills patients; train, train and train some more”
  8. “Gather as much information as you can to make good decisions”


  1. “If you don’t know something, speak up”
  2. “People forgive stupid questions. Stupid mistakes because you didn’t ask a stupid question are a different matter”

Self – care.

  1. “Always pack a lunch”
  2. “Mistakes happen, learn from it and move on”
  3. “If you get angry, it’s time for a break”
  4. “Slow down when driving”
  5. “Build a solid foundation of support and watch out for your mates”

So if you are a new paramedic, I hope you heed these words of wisdom. They have come from experience, which has involved plenty of mistakes.

For us seasoned practitioners…let’s lead by example and ensure that we are practising what we preach. It is a privilege and an honour to work with the amazing people that we do. Thank you for being just that.

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