As a paramedic at EMA

Raine Grönholm works as a paramedic at EMA Finland in Pirkanmaa. Work at EMA has been varied and educational, and Raine thinks that as a paramedic you can always improve.

Grönholm’s career in the healthcare industry started at a young age, as he worked as a nursing assistant in service units for the elderly and disabled during his high school years. When choosing a field of study, the health care industry still interested me, but as a work environment, the hospital did not feel like my place. Instead, Grönholm was attracted to the diversity of first aid, and so he ended up studying first aid at the University of Applied Sciences.

“It’s interesting that during the same day you meet several patients with different ailments and there fore you get to think about and plan their treatment, says Grönholm.”

Grönholm was able to work at EMA immediately after graduation. The work at EMA has met his expectations well, because the internships during his studies gave a good idea of ​​what a paramedic’s work is like.

At EMA, Grönholm’s work includes working in both care-level and basic-level units. He drives a lot of non-urgent patient transports, but also civic tasks under the emergency center. It depends on the day and the unit, which one he does more. According to Grönholm, both have their own advantages in terms of professional interest.

“During transports, you get ready-made epicrisis, through which you can learn what has been studied about the patient. However, I personally like civic duties the most. Then we go to the task with limited preliminary information, make a working diagnosis and an assessment of the need for treatment, and decide whether the patient needs transport.”

The work of a paramedic is defined quite a lot by external circumstances, but there are still opportunities to modify one’s own work. At EMA, some units perform more tasks than others, and the paramedics in the field have less time to perform, for example, station service.

“You can have a surprising amount of influence on your own work. When working together with a partner, we decide together how this task will go, what to do next and how long it will take. Do you want the task to go smoothly, or do you want to give the patient a little more time if you feel like they need it.”

Teamwork, tight situations and continuous learning

Paramedics encounter almost the entire spectrum of human life in their work, and sometimes the situations can be emotionally difficult. When such an incident occurs, the incident is discussed afterwards with the work partner and, if necessary, also at a debriefing event organized by the supervisor. Debriefing is needed in particularly difficult situations, such as after unsuccessful CPR. However, memorable moments can also be positive, such as when you receive praise from a patient.

“The encounter between the paramedic and the patient is often so short that there is rarely praise. But when you get it, it’s even more meaningful, Grönholm says.”

Paramedics receive feedback not only from patients, but also from each other. The compliments and thanks received from the work partner during the shift help to cope.

“We have a really good working atmosphere. There hasn’t been a single work partner I haven’t had a conversation with, but of course that’s also up to you, Grönholm says.”

Although the work of a paramedic is independent, it is also teamwork, where social skills are important. Effective communication with your partner is a must for success at work, and good interaction skills are naturally also needed with patients.

“You must be able to look people in the eye and touch them. Self-initiative is also important, because you are alone in the field with a partner. Even though there are two of us, someone has to manage the situation and be able to decide the need for treatment based on the assessment of what the patient needs. In addition, you have to know how to listen. There can be a huge flood of words from people, and you have to be able to pick out the right things from there.”

Grönholm also mentions the maintenance and development of professional skills as important qualities for a paramedic. The basics remain the same in the work of a paramedic, but new forms of treatment and drugs are constantly being developed, and it is also important for paramedics to be aware of them.

You have to be ready to receive new information and accept the fact that you are never ready. Every task could be handled better in some way, says Grönholm.

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Please note, that since the writing after each task is done in Finnish, you must be able to produce understandable text in Finnish. Alternatively you must be able to communicate with your work partner so that they can take care of the those on behalf of their partner.