Emergency ambulance driver

An emergency ambulance driver


Emergency ambulance drivers use emergency vehicles to respond to medical emergencies and support the work of paramedics, move patients safely, take note of changes in the patient’s vital signs and report to the paramedics in charge, ensuring the medical equipment is well stored, transported and functional, under supervision and on order of a doctor of medicine.

The duties of an emergency ambulance driver include, but are not limited to:

  • Inspecting the ambulance before each shift, checking the fuel, oil, transmission fluid, wiper fluid, and coolant, and reporting any needed repairs.
  • Checking the first aid and medical supplies inventory levels before each shift and ensuring the ambulance is well-stocked.
  • Assisting patients onto gurneys and loading them into the ambulance.
  • Driving an ambulance as quickly and as safely as possible to transport patients to the hospital.
  • Providing first aid or administering oxygen if the patient requires care before reaching the hospital.
  • Sanitizing the ambulance and safely disposing of any medical waste and soiled linens.
  • Maintaining the driving log with daily entries and noting patients’ names and addresses, travel times, mileage, and service performed.
  • Reporting accident facts to medical personnel and police officers, when necessary.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to emergency ambulance driver:

technician in emergency medical care
ambulance emergency medical technician
assistant in emergency care
ambulance technician
emergency medical vehicle assistant
medical emergency assistant
ambulance emergency care assistant

Working conditions

Emergency ambulance drivers usually work forty hours a week. They work irregular hours including nights, weekends, and holidays. Since many ambulance calls involve matters of life and death, drivers work under intense pressure.

Emergency ambulance drivers may have to perform physically strenuous duties, including lifting and carrying patients. The work is demanding and requires a high degree of commitment.

Minimum qualifications

Emergency ambulance drivers must be at least eighteen years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, be licensed to drive a vehicle (the license depends on the type of vehicle used as an ambulance), and have a good driving record. A certificate of first aid training, if not required, may be useful too.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Emergency ambulance driver is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Emergency ambulance driver career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to emergency ambulance driver.

paramedic in emergency responses
clinical perfusion scientist
respiratory therapy technician
anatomical pathology technician
dietetic technician

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of emergency ambulance driver. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of emergency ambulance driver with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

nuclear medicine radiographer
diagnostic radiographer
therapeutic radiographer

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of emergency ambulance driver.

  • Hygiene in a health care setting: The procedures related to maintaining a hygienic environment within a health care setting such as hospitals and clinics. It can range from hand washing to cleaning and disinfection of medical equipment used and infection control methods.
  • Health care legislation: The patients` rights and responsibilities of health practitioners and the possible repercussions and prosecutions in relation to medical treatment negligence or malpractice.
  • Special equipment in emergency: The usage of the specific medical and life support equipment on ambulance vehicles, according to skill level.
  • Health care occupation-specific ethics: The moral standards and procedures, ethical questions and obligations specific to occupations in a health care setting such as respect for human dignity, self-determination, informed consent and patient confidentiality.
  • Operational tactics for emergency responses: The characteristics and proceedings of operational tactics for emergency responses especially at major incidents and catastrophes.
  • Infection control: The routes of transmission and methods of preventing spread of common and important infecting organisms together with the methods available for sterilisation and disinfection of pathogenic organisms in the prevention of infection.
  • Pathogenic microorganisms: The main classes of pathogenic microorganisms, the spread of infection and the use of universal precautions.
  • Resuscitation: The emergency procedure applied to individuals with no pulse to restore them to consciousness.
  • Human anatomy: The dynamic relationship of human structure and function and the muscosceletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, endocrine, urinary, reproductive, integumentary and nervous systems; normal and altered anatomy and physiology throughout the human lifespan.
  • Emergency cases: The emergency cases with different disease patterns and syndromes, the special emergency cases and their appropriate interventions.
  • First aid: The emergency treatment given to a sick or injured person in the case of circulatory and/or respiratory failure, unconsciousness, wounds, bleeding, shock or poisoning.
  • Medical dispatch: The concepts of a medical dispatch system and its use which consists in performing criteria based medical dispatch, answering emergency calls, and operating computer aided dispatch systems.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of emergency ambulance driver.

  • Drive ambulance under emergency conditions: Drive and operate ambulance in response to emergency situations, at a safe and controlled speed, complying with laws, regulations and standards for this type of activity.
  • Work in multidisciplinary teams related to emergency care: Work with a variety of people from various health care and non-health care services such as ambulance control room staff, paramedics, doctors and nurses, as well as people working in the fire and police department.
  • Provide first aid: Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation or first aid in order to provide help to a sick or injured person until they receive more complete medical treatment.
  • Empathise with the healthcare user: Understand the background of clients` and patients’ symptoms, difficulties and behaviour. Be empathetic about their issues; showing respect and reinforcing their autonomy, self-esteem and independence. Demonstrate a concern for their welfare and handle according to the personal boundaries, sensitivities, cultural differences and preferences of the client and patient in mind.
  • Monitor patients during transfer to hospital: Monitor and take note of any changes in the vital signs of the patients being transferred to the hospital for further medical diagnosis and treatment.
  • Transfer patients to and from ambulance vehicles: Transfer patients safely to and from ambulance vehicles by making use of appropriate equipment and manual handling skills that prevent harming the patient during transportation.
  • Communicate effectively in healthcare: Communicate effectively with patients, families and other caregivers, health care professionals, and community partners.
  • Write reports on emergency cases: Record the patient`s condition or injury from the start of the takeover in the ambulance, the treatment provided, and reactions to drugs and treatment.
  • Transfer patients: Use the most appropriate techniques to handle and move patients in and out of an ambulance, hospital bed, wheelchair, etc.
  • Comply with quality standards related to healthcare practice: Apply quality standards related to risk management, safety procedures, patients feedback, screening and medical devices in daily practice, as they are recognized by the national professional associations and authorities.
  • Assist ambulance paramedics: Help ambulance paramedics by carrying out basic diagnostic procedures under their direct supervision, handling urgent hospital admissions and any other type of support needed by paramedics in order to manage emergency patients such as providing oxygen, stopping blood loss, treating minor fractures and wounds.
  • Comply with legislation related to health care: Comply with the regional and national legislation that is relevant to one`s work and apply it in practice.
  • Maintain emergency vehicle equipment: Maintain emergency vehicles and the associated medical and communication equipment, replenishing first-aid equipment and supplies as needed.
  • Listen actively: Give attention to what other people say, patiently understand points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times; able to listen carefully the needs of customers, clients, passengers, service users or others, and provide solutions accordingly.
  • Adhere to organisational guidelines: Adhere to organisational or department specific standards and guidelines. Understand the motives of the organisation and the common agreements and act accordingly.
  • Tolerate stress: Maintain a temperate mental state and effective performance under pressure or adverse circumstances.
  • Clean vehicle interiors: Remove dirt, rubbish or impurities of the interior of vehicles, including consoles and dashboards; vacuum car seats and carpets; clean hinges and door trims.
  • Position patients undergoing interventions: Position or immobilise patients correctly for safe and effective interventions.
  • Operate an emergency communication system: Efficiently operate common communication systems used in emergencies, such as base station mobile transmitters and receivers, portable transmitters and receivers, repeaters, cellular phones, pagers, automated vehicle locators, and satellite phones as required.
  • Ensure ambulance roadworthiness: Check, prior to service, that the ambulance is working properly and that no technical defaults are risking the continuation of the ambulance service.
  • Follow verbal instructions: Have the ability to follow spoken instructions received from colleagues. Strive to understand and clarify what is being requested.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of emergency ambulance driver. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Childbirth: The process of delivering a baby, the symptoms and signs of labour, the expulsion of the baby and all the related steps and procedures, including the ones related to complications and pre-mature birth.
  • Disability care: The specific methods and practices used in providing care to people with physical, intellectual and learning disabilities.
  • Pharmacology: Pharmacology is a medical specialty mentioned in the EU Directive 2005/36/EC.
  • Sanitary technology: The characteristics and usage of medicinal products and sanitary technical equipment.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of emergency ambulance driver. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

ISCO group and title

3258 – Ambulance workers

  1. Emergency ambulance driver – ESCO
  2. Ambulance Driver Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  3. Ambulance Driver Job Description – Betterteam
  4. Ambulance Driver Job Description – StateUniversity.com
  5. Featured image: Photo by Ryan Brooklyn on Unsplash
Last updated on January 9, 2023

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