Paramedic personality type

7 Attributes Every Paramedic Should Have

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No two days are alike for emergency medical response professionals. Responding to disasters and emergencies, working long hours, and interacting with others in healthcare are all part of a paramedic’s job. Paramedics and EMTs are the front-liners on the scene to provide treatment for patients. To succeed in this career takes some invaluable traits. Some personal qualities will also serve them well while providing emergency medical care. 

Paramedics and EMTs have a challenging and physical role to play in providing fast and sometimes life-saving treatment to those in need, and not everyone is up to the responsibilities. If you’re thinking of becoming a paramedic, here are some attributes that will help you.

1. Problem-Solving Skills

Emergencies can be complex and patients often have difficulty communicating with emergency responders. Paramedics must quickly evaluate situations at a glance, using problem-solving skills to determine the best course of action for the patient’s welfare.  

2. Teamwork

Collaboration is key as a paramedic. Providing emergency medical care requires coordination with others. Responders must communicate with one another when planning an evacuation, stabilizing a patient, administering drugs, and keeping records. When paramedics respond to a call, they have to make sure the medical team receiving the patient is accurately informed to continue care. Collaboration ensures a more efficient team that can handle the workload of a paramedic career. 

3. Mental Agility

Paramedics need mental agility to overcome the stress and trauma they constantly face in their profession. A systematic review found that 27% of ambulance personnel suffer from general psychological distress.

Constant exposure to trauma leaves paramedics vulnerable to fatigue and distraction, and sometimes struggling to meet the demands of the work. Having strong mental agility will help them to carry out their duties according to industry best practices. Since they need to make swift decisions on the spot in most cases, mental alertness plays a huge role to ensure patients receive the best care possible at any given moment.   

4. Physical Fitness

Being a paramedic requires strength and agility in order to move quickly, work in difficult spaces, and lift patients. The physical demands of the job predispose paramedics to develop injuries. A study showed that as much as 50% of ambulance staff develop task-related injuries. Paramedics must undergo technical training and meet physical requirements before being employed. 

They need to undergo color vision tests to determine color blindness because it can impede their ability to provide proper patient care. While paramedics are not necessarily required to have 20/20 vision, they must have good eyesight to ensure life-threatening mistakes are avoided.

In addition to good vision, paramedics should have stamina and endurance as they often lift and transport patients. Some situations may also call for them to kneel, bend, or work in awkward positions. 

They also need to be physically coordinated since many of their tasks require precision. Fine motor skills are required to administer intravenous medications or apply bandages, and gross motor skills are needed for climbing stairs, carrying equipment and patients, and moving in tight, confined spaces. 

Paramedics must always exercise caution to maintain their health and safety at work while also saving other people’s lives. 

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5. Compassion

Paramedics can take better care of their patients if they show compassion. A study has shown that empathy from healthcare providers can result in patients communicating better. This helps paramedics assess and treat their patients. When patients feel their primary care provider has compassion, they are more open to receiving treatment, which can reduce complications. 

6. Communication Skills

Since paramedics work in high-stress situations, they often have to deal with patients, family members, and even witnesses who may be emotional. Paramedics need to communicate with them for critical information to provide appropriate and immediate patient care. 

Aside from communicating with people on the scene, paramedics must also relay information about the patient’s condition and the initial care administered to the receiving medical team to ensure continuity of care. 

7. Hunger for Learning

Working in the medical field means continuous learning. Innovations and updates in medical care, drug dosing, and even technology, are constantly being introduced in the medical field. Paramedics must stay up to date with the latest developments and procedures.

Furthermore, the fast-paced environment in which paramedics work means they may inevitably make mistakes. While they are trained to be meticulous, they need to learn from their mistakes and continue to develop their skills throughout their career. 

Paramedics and EMTs fill a challenging and indispensable role in providing immediate patient care in emergencies. In addition to the required skills they must learn, those considering a career as a paramedic should keep in mind the attributes needed for the job. If this sounds like you, explore our programs page to learn more about becoming a paramedic 

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Why do so many EMTs have a ‘Type A’ personality?

You must be a certain type of person – driven, competitive, organized – to be drawn to a career in EMS.

There is no question about it, Type A personalities are common in EMS. Type A tendencies can be good for the meticulous trade, but they can also mean major setbacks and limitations. What does it mean to be Type A, why is it so prevalent in EMS, and how can you harness these traits to make you the best EMT possible? 

What are common traits of Type A personalities?

Personality types were first researched by Meyer Friedman, M.D. and RH Rosenman, M.D., who were trying to find a correlation between mental state and physical health.  

Friedman and Rosenman monitored patients with heart conditions in a hospital waiting room. Unlike most patients, who waited patiently, some people seemed unable to sit in their seats for long. They tended to sit on the edge of the seat and stood up frequently. This observation began to outline the Type A personality. 

Since the label Type A was created, further research has defined what it means to be Type A. According to Simply Psychology, people with a Type A personality are typically:

  • Competitive
  •  Self-critical
  • Have high work involvement
  • Extroverts
  • Feel a constant sense of urgency
  • Concerned with time management
  • Organized

Do these traits sound familiar? It turns out Type A is relatively common among EMTs. 

Type A and EMTs

There is little room for error in this profession, which is why a self-critical, competitive and organized person is the perfect fit for EMS. EMTs are responsible for managing drugs, dosages, protocols and more, all while dealing with a true medical emergency. Without paying attention to detail, costly mistakes can be made. 

Making Type A traits work for you 

Having a Type A personality can be rewarding for EMTs. It’s important to be detail-oriented and be productive with your time – both traits of Type A. But if you let your domineering traits show through too much, Type A personalities can be more of a weakness than an asset. EMS1 contributor Chris Cebollero highlights these three steps toward becoming a better provider for patients: 

  • Realize the patients aren’t there for you; you are there for your patients. It’s important to put your ego (and competition) aside so you can be the best provider for someone who is likely having the worst day of his or her life. 
  • Ask questions about your service. What do other people think of you as a provider? It may be hard to hear any criticism (should there be any), but hearing an honest opinion is what will help you learn how to become a better EMT. 
  • Find a mentor who can guide and polish your work. EMTs often find it difficult to ask questions – a fear of showing weakness – but if you find a mentor who can ground you, you can learn a wealth of crucial information. No one knows everything about EMS. 

Finding a balance

You need a balance of personality traits in the workplace. Without balance, Cebollero says, EMTs can become stagnant and make more mistakes. 

Cebollero admits he is a Type A person and says that when he’s riding around with another person all shift, he needs that person to balance his personality traits. “Too much Type A doesn’t work. It’s always a competition. Who got off the seat faster? Who worked the code best?” he said. “At the end of the day it’s not about that. It should always be about the patient.” 

Take the quiz: Are you Type A?

Word of warning for Type A

Type A traits can contribute to stress, too, which is a double-edged sword for this already stressful occupation. It’s not surprising that EMTs have an increased risk for stress-related health issues like high blood pressure. Running on high adrenaline in high-stress situations too frequently is unhealthy, and it’s important to find an outlet to help you cope with stress, such as yoga, running, meditating, fishing or camping.

Type A personalities are drawn to a career in EMS because the key traits are practically copied from an EMTs job description. If you are Type A, it’s important to understand what positive and negative habits accompany your personality traits. 

About the author

The EMS1 Lifestyle content series is written for the off-duty EMT and paramedic. Here you’ll find content on everything from the latest automotive and entertainment trends to tips and tricks for financial planning – all written from a first responder's perspective, with an eye toward what makes you unique even when you’re not at the station.

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Evaluation of the psychological qualities of the personality of the paramedic

Evaluation of the psychological qualities of the personality of the paramedic
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  3. Evaluation of the psychological qualities of the personality of a paramedic

UDC: 614. 2 DOI:10.33920/med-05-2202-02

Alexander Petrovich Ionov 2nd year student of the Institute of Nursing Education, Samara State Medical University, Ministry of Health of Russia, 443099, Samara, st. Chapaevskaya, 89, e-mail: [email protected],

Key words: professional qualities, psychological qualities of a paramedic, personality of a paramedic, severity of psychological qualities, assessment of personality traits

The aim of the study is to characterize the professionally significant psychological qualities of a paramedic's personality. Results. The presence of a synchronous change in indicators for each characteristic of the paramedic's personality was revealed both in males and females; the most pronounced psychological qualities of the personality of medical assistants turned out to be: developed visual-figurative thinking, caution and prudence, suspicion; the most pronounced psychological qualities of the personality of paramedical students were the same qualities as those of paramedical specialists with the inclusion of a markedly pronounced conservatism. Conclusion. When comparing the psychograms of paramedical specialists and paramedical students, psychological characteristics were identified that should be corrected: emotional instability, dominance, suspicion and relaxation. nine0011


1. Dikaya L.G. Modern trends in the development of labor psychology and organizational psychology /L.G. Wild. - M., 2015; 711 p.

2. Zeer E.F. Psychology of professions / E.F. Zeer. — M., 2020; 329 p.

3. Karaseva L.A. The influence of personal qualities on the formation of a leader / L.A. Karaseva, T.V. Bessonova, G.P. Knyazeva // Nurse. — Publishing house PANORAMA. - 2021. - No. 3; pp. 69–78.

4. Fomichev D.S. Study of the relationship between personal characteristics and professional suitability of nursing staff / D.S. Fomichev // Nurse. — Publishing house PANORAMA. - 2021. - No. 6; pp. 13–19.

1. Dikaia L.G. Modern tendentsii razvitiia psikhologii truda i organizatsionnoi psikhologii [Modern trends in the development of labor psychology and organizational psychology] /L. G. Dikaia. — M., 2015; 711p. (In Russ.)

2. Zeer E.F. Psikhologiia professii [Psychology of professions] / E.F. Zeer. — M., 2020; 329p. (In Russ.)

3. Karaseva L.A. Vliianie lichnostnykh kachestv na formirovanie lidera [The influence of personal qualities on the formation of a leader] / L.A. Karaseva, T.V. Bessonova, G.P. Kniazeva // Medsestra [Nurse]. — Publishing house PANORAMA. - 2021. -No. 3; pp. 69-78. (In Russ.)

4. Fomichev D.S. Issledovanie vzaimosviazi lichnostnykh osobennostei i professionalnoi prigodnosti sestrinskogo personala [Study of the relationship between personal characteristics and professional suitability of nursing personnel] /D.S. Fomichev // Medsestra [Nurse]. — Publishing house PANORAMA. — 2021. — No. 6; pp. 13–19. (In Russ.)


In modern healthcare conditions, characterized by exceptionally dynamic changes, the problems associated with the training of nursing professionals who are adequate in terms of their professional level of significance and complexity of the tasks to be solved are of particular importance [3]. nine0011

The profession of a paramedic makes demands associated with emotional overload, frequent stressful situations, lack of time, the need to make decisions with a limited amount of information, with a high frequency and intensity of interpersonal interaction. By the nature of his professional activity, the paramedic is faced with suffering, pain, dying, death. The work of a paramedic is a special type of activity characterized by a state of constant psychological readiness, emotional involvement in the problems of others related to their state of health, in almost any situation involving interpersonal interaction [2]. nine0011

Knowledge, requirements for certain personal qualities of a paramedic are relevant both for a person on the verge of choosing this profession, and for an employer [1].

Given the psychological characteristics that affect professional suitability, it is possible not only to select the most psychologically prepared personnel, but also to prevent the development of professional deformations and burnout syndrome among employees [4]. nine0011

The purpose of the study is to identify professionally significant psychological qualities of a paramedic's personality.

In accordance with the intended purpose, the following research objectives were set:

• draw up a generalized psychological portrait of a paramedic specialist;

nine0010 • compose a generalized psychological portrait of a medical assistant student;

• highlight the professionally important qualities of a paramedic specialist to be developed by a paramedic student.

The object of the study is the psychological qualities of the personality of students and mid-level specialists in the specialty 31. 02.01 "Medicine".

nine0010 The subject of the study is the selection of professionally important personality traits of a paramedic.


The study used a sociological research method (16-factor Cattell personality questionnaire) and statistical analysis of the questionnaire data. Respondents who took part in the survey:

nine0010 • 4th year students of the Institute of Nursing Education of the Samara State Medical University;

• working specialists - ambulance and emergency medical assistants of the Soviet substation in Samara.

Respondents were divided by gender. As a result, two equivalent pairs of groups were formed for comparison:

nine0010 • the first group of specialist paramedics men - 20% and women - 80%;

• The second group of student paramedics, boys - 21% and girls - 79%.

The average work experience of medical assistants is more than 5 years.


nine0010 According to the study, there is a predominantly synchronous change in indicators for each personality characteristic in both male and female medical assistants (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. The severity of the psychological qualities of the personality of medical assistants

In dissonance, there is only one indicator on the M scale "practicality - daydreaming": in male paramedics it is expressed by 8. 7 points, in women - by 3.8 points. The male paramedics turned out to be dreamy creative individuals with a well-developed imagination, who love art. Female paramedical specialists are rational, focused on the specifics and real tasks of the individual. We consider this fact to be natural, since when choosing a humanitarian profession, men may have some dreaminess and creativity, but within the professional community, women turn out to be more down to earth, rational and practical. nine0011

Further, the characteristic of personality was analyzed on the scale B "intelligence", expressed both in men and women. For male paramedics, it is 1.0 points, for women - 1.5 points. It should be noted that high scores are characteristic of those individuals who have developed abstract thinking and who think quickly. Such people learn easily and, as they say, grasp everything on the fly. Low scores indicate that a person has insufficiently developed abstract thinking, as well as verbal culture. For reflection, for finding solutions to various problems, such a person needs more time. For representatives of the “paramedic” qualification, a low score on the “intelligence” scale indicates a more developed visual-figurative thinking and, according to the characteristics of solving problems, is carried out in order to achieve a practical goal. nine0011

Also, the H scale "timidity - courage" can be attributed to indicators with low scores. The average indicator of this characteristic for male paramedics was 2.7 points, for women - 3.7. Respondents in this group are cautious, prudent people who do not like to take risks and experience stress when interacting with the unknown. They are shy, they prefer to remain silent in the company, but they are very sensitive to any dangers and threats. In our opinion, this is a very appropriate level of expression of this quality for the qualification of "paramedic" - an activity associated with everyday risk. nine0011

The highest indicator of the characteristic of the L scale "gullibility-suspiciousness" among female medical assistants was 8.3 points, for men this indicator is slightly lower - 6.7 points. High scores indicate that their owners treat others, if not suspicious, then at least wary. Such people are self-centered, do not admit their mistakes and demand that others follow their norms and rules. As a rule, they have high conceit, they are jealous and irritable. We also consider this quality professionally important for an ambulance and emergency medical assistant. nine0011

As a result, there is no sharp difference in the severity of personal characteristics of paramedics by gender. All characteristics are approximately in the same intervals of indicators.

Let us present the most pronounced indicators of the psychological qualities of the personality of medical assistant students (Fig. 2).

nine0010 Fig. 2. The severity of the psychological qualities of the personality of medical assistant students

The indicator on the B scale "intelligence" of male medical assistant students was 2.3 points. This indicator for female medical students is 3.0 points, which indicates a developed visual-figurative thinking and the achievement of a practical goal in the performance of professional tasks.

nine0010 A low-pronounced indicator among student paramedics is the characteristic indicator on the Q1 scale "conservatism - radicalism": for boys it is 3.3 points, for girls - 4.5 points. Possessors of low scores, respectively, are conservative, they are suspicious of innovations, they prefer to follow traditions and customs (if not public, then their own). Such people are ready to endure difficulties and inconveniences, just to not change anything. Often they are prone to moralizing, teaching and lecturing others. Strangers are treated with suspicion. nine0011

The highest indicator of personality characteristics was the indicator on the L scale "gullibility - suspicion": for students-paramedics, this indicator was 8.7 points, for girls - 7.9 points. These indicators indicate that their owners treat others, if not suspiciously, then at least wary. Such people are self-centered, do not admit their mistakes and demand that others follow their norms and rules. As a rule, they have high conceit, they are jealous and irritable. nine0011

When comparing, we see a synchronous change in the severity of personality traits both among specialist paramedics and student paramedics, with a lag in the severity of professionally important qualities by an average of 1–2 points (Fig. 3.).

Fig. 3. Comparative characteristics of the psychological qualities of the personality of professionals and students

nine0010 In addition, the results of the study show that people enter the profession with a certain set of expression of the main psychological qualities of the personality, which in the process of becoming a specialist may be subject to correction, for example:

• on a scale C - "emotional instability - stability" - student paramedics should deal with irritability, mood swings and variability of interests; one should learn to solve problems and resolve conflicts constructively, to be more emotionally hardy; nine0011

• on the E scale "subordination - dominance" - medical assistant students should avoid assertiveness and stubbornness, learn to recognize someone else's authority, which is very important in their future professional activities;

• on the L scale "gullibility - suspicion" - medical assistant students should correct their egocentrism, learn to admit their mistakes, deal with irritability; nine0011

• on the scale Q3 "relaxation - tension" - student paramedics should develop strong-willed qualities, determination, the ability to complete the work begun.

These professionally significant qualities can be developed as an individual grows up, as well as with successful professional training.

nine0010 We also noted that due to the development of society and psychological growth in generations, it is already possible to observe the predominance of such qualities as “sociability” and “diplomacy” among students. In practicing paramedics, these qualities have lower rates, which, in our opinion, is explained by the presence of a syndrome of professional burnout or even professional deformation of the personality.


nine0010 As a result of the study:

• it was revealed the presence of a synchronous change in indicators for each personality characteristic, both in males and females;

• the most pronounced psychological qualities of medical assistants were: developed visual-figurative thinking, caution and prudence, suspicion; nine0011

• The most pronounced psychological qualities of medical assistant students are the same qualities as those of medical assistants with the inclusion of a markedly pronounced conservatism;

• when comparing the psychograms of two groups of respondents, psychological characteristics were identified that are subject to slight correction: emotional instability, dominance, suspicion and relaxation. nine0011


The authors declare no conflict of interest.


The author claims no conflict of interest.

nine0010 For Citation:

Ionov Alexander Petrovich, Belikova Olga Viktorovna, Lazareva Lyudmila Anatolyevna, Evaluation of the psychological qualities of the paramedic's personality. Nurse. 2022;2.

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Who can be retrained as a paramedic.

Graduates of medical colleges do not always stop at one specialization option and often ask themselves the question: who can a paramedic retrain to? With a diploma of completion of the "medical business", you can work not only in the ambulance team - there are other areas of activity that involve diagnostic, preventive or therapeutic manipulations. In this case, a newly minted specialist may require professional retraining. Also, many paramedics want to enter a university in order to study as a doctor. nine0011

Postgraduate retraining

The certificate obtained at the time of graduation from the medical assistant faculty is not considered the last stage of medical education. A paramedic may work in an ambulance, in a laboratory, in a feldsher-midwifery station or elsewhere, but in most cases this requires additional training after medical school as part of postgraduate retraining or advanced training. A specialist is issued a certificate that allows him to find a job in a certain field of medicine. nine0011

Main areas:

  • health care management;
  • general medical activities;
  • laboratory diagnostics;
  • ambulance;
  • health protection of the rural population;
  • child and adolescent health care;
  • narcology;
  • obstetrics.

At the same time, postgraduate training will not allow a paramedic to become a doctor. The closest option is to work in a feldsher-obstetric station (FAP), where doctors perform therapeutic and diagnostic functions, replacing doctors. Previously, due to a lack of graduates from institutes, some clinics met paramedics in the role of a district therapist, but from the point of view of legislation, such an employment option is impossible. nine0011

Retrain as a doctor

Many graduates of medical school are interested in who they can retrain to perform medical duties. From the point of view of educational standards and laws, only a graduate of a medical institute who has received higher education at the Faculty of Medicine can work as a doctor. A paramedic cannot retrain as a doctor through advanced training or retraining - you need to enter a medical institute and study with other students.

Contrary to a common misconception, a paramedic cannot immediately enroll in a medical institute for the 2nd or 3rd year. Education as a doctor at the university is not related to paramedical education, so a physician will need to master a new area almost from scratch. The term of study before obtaining a certificate and admission to work as a therapist / pediatrician in a polyclinic is 6 years. To pass another specialization, such as cardiology or surgery, you should additionally unlearn residency for several years. nine0011

It is easier for a college graduate to study at a medical institute, since some disciplines are allowed to be re-credited. Established doctors are allowed to perform more complex procedures during their practice, thereby improving the quality of medical training. Also, during the period of study at the medical institute, paramedics often continue to work in their specialty and gain experience in self-treatment of patients.

How to become a doctor

You must choose an educational institution that has a medical faculty. At the admissions office, applicants provide a copy of their identity card, a certificate of examination, photographs and other documents. The paramedic has the right to choose entrance tests at the institute or take the exam together with schoolchildren. For enrollment, you should prepare for the delivery of biology, chemistry and the Russian language. nine0011

There are no admission advantages over other applicants. To take a budget place and retrain as a doctor for free, you should score as many points as possible for three subjects. To do this, it is recommended to start preparing at least six months before passing the exams. It is necessary to master the school curriculum in the chosen disciplines and get used to the examination format in the form of testing.

Over the years of studying at a medical school, many doctors forget the basics of biology and chemistry, so for successful admission to the budget, it is recommended to hire a tutor. The teacher will teach you how to solve problems and score more points for the test. Where financial resources are not limited, paid places are available with little competition, but the high cost of a commercial form of medical education should be taken into account. In addition, money is often required even after graduation from the medical faculty for additional specialization in residency. nine0011

Other options

A graduate of a medical school is not limited in choosing additional areas of specialization. Entering a medical university will allow you to become a pharmacist, biochemist, biophysicist, dentist, cybernetician or other specialist. Professional courses will help the paramedic to retrain as a chiropractor and massage. It is also acceptable to work as a doctor's assistant or dental assistant.

Nursing education opens the door to training and employment in a variety of medical fields, including laboratory diagnostics, chiropractic and health care management. Also, many graduates of the medical school go to college and master the profession of a doctor. nine0011

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