About Paramedics

Where do paramedics work

Paramedics work in front line emergency ambulances, rapid response units, helicopters and at high-risk public events such as motor sports to provide urgent medical and accident care.

Paramedics also work as a part of specialist teams including urban search & rescue (USAR) and the Specialist Emergency Response Team (SERT) to provide medical support to police during high risk operations.

Some paramedics are also trained by the New Zealand Fire Service to provide emergency care in the ‘warm zone’ of a  chemical, biological or radioactive (CBR) incidents.

Increasingly, paramedics are being called on to treat non-acute illness and injury (primary healthcare), which has seen some paramedics in New Zealand specialising in Urgent Community Care (UCC).

This video of Intensive Care Paramedic Craig Stockdale illustrates the profound impact that paramedics have on the health and wellbeing of New Zealand communities.

Attributes of a paramedic

Paramedics must be dynamic and able to think on their feet. They work in unpredictable, isolated and sometimes hostile environments with limited resources.

A good paramedic is empathetic and understanding. They often deal with people in their darkest hour and must be capable of managing serious injury, death and grief.

How are paramedics trained?

Historically, paramedics have been trained through in-house paramedic courses run by New Zealand’s ambulance services.

Due to the evolving nature of the role,  the New Zealand ambulance sector now expects that paramedics hold an undergraduate degree and Intensive Care Paramedics hold a post-graduate certificate to become qualified.