Although little evidence has clearly demonstrated that paramedics must have a particular personality trait or be a particular personality type in order to be successful as a paramedic, it has often been hypothosized that paramedics are generally a certain “type” of personality.
It has been believed by so many that this golden “type” of personality that all paramedic must inherently have, that many Ambulance Service around the world select trainee paramedic candidates on the basis of a 4-6 hour personality test/psychometric evaluation. If you are about to apply for an Student Ambulance Paramedic position and you are about to undergo psychometric evaluations/personality tests, you may wish to review my Passing Paramedic Personality Tests page.
So what are the “ideal” paramedic traits?
3.Desire to help people
5. Strength in oneself (whatever that means)
6. Altruism (the desire to do good)
8. Mechanically minded/ trade orientated
9. Able to follow authority
10. Willingness to change
What are the actual paramedic traits that most paramedics who appear to last in the job have?
1. Risk taking personalities (most Ambos will either ride motor bikes, climb mountains, or do some other form of high risk taking activity on their days off)
2. Enjoy excitement and easily bored (I know, it seems to go against most of our work-load that is very mundane and routine, but most paramedics have a tendency to search fo excitement, and find that they get bored easily if they do too many similar things in a day).
3. A genuine desire (or at least willingness) to help others and do what is best for their patients
4. Ability to fake confidence (you don’t have to be confident, so long as you can appear confident, that will do fine)
5. Discipline and ability to get up at all hours and do the job (irrespective of how much you want to roll over and go back to bed in Winter).
6. Ability to follow a set path or “way of doing things” – if you genuinely want to change things, you understand that you need to change things for the future (and are willing to wait, instead of going against protocols or procedures on the spot) – this will see you in coroners court rather quickly.
7. Ability to reasess a situation and think laterally about how problem solve (at a very basic level, we, as paramedics are problem solvers for those who just don’t know where else to go – generally this is medical based problems, but can often include a range of non-medical problems.
8. An ability to do things, even if they disgust you or you find them difficult. You will find that many paramedics (especially paramedics who have been around for a long time) will be digusted by the sight or smell of blood, but are willing to focus and do their job when the need is there. Paramedics don’t have to like what they’re doing, just as long as they are capable of still doing it. I personally hate blood, but am able to overcome this disgust, by focussing on my job and looking after a patient when I attend a bad trauma.
9. Be capable of learning things by rote (the process of doing a skill numerous times until it becomes second nature, even if you don’t understand why you are doing it). As a paramedic, it is good to know why you are doing skills a certain way, however, it is important to know how to do the skill (by rote) so that, when you attend a bad scene (which, inevitably, you will) you are capable of still rendering the medical asssistance required.
10. Take pride in what you do – most paramedics will (deep down) admit that part of the reason they do what they do, is because of the pride that they get from doing the unique job that they do and… occasionally, saving lives…