Ambulance Driver Job Description
Ambulance drivers are dispatched to homes and other locations to transport seriously ill or injured persons to the hospital for medical attention. They may also provide transportation for convalescent residents of nursing homes. Due to the nature of their work, ambulance drivers must have a valid driver’s license and a good driving record. The position requires evening, weekend, and holiday work hours, and rotating shifts may include 12 or more hours a day. Because they deal with emergency and life or death situations, prospective ambulance drivers must thrive under pressure. They must also be able to remain calm and composed and have the ability to put frightened and agitated patients at ease.
Ambulance Drivers Duties and Responsibilities
An ambulance driver’s duties may vary based on their seniority, whether they hold EMT certification, and the level of certification they hold. However, there are several core tasks that are common to all ambulance drivers, such as:
Drive Passenger Vehicle
Safely driving an ambulance to transport patients as quickly as possible to medical facilities for care is a primary part of an ambulance driver’s job.
In situations where the patient requires some level of care before reaching the hospital, such as instances of heavy bleeding or respiratory distress, the ambulance driver provides first aid or administers oxygen.
To keep the ambulance sanitary and germ-free, ambulance drivers thoroughly sanitize the vehicle and remove soiled linens and contaminated supplies.
Ambulance drivers make daily entries into a driving log. This information includes patients’ names and addresses, trip times, mileage, and services performed.
Ensure Vehicle Safety
They inspect the ambulance and report any deficiencies for repair. Fuel, oil, transmission fluid, coolant, and wiper fluid levels are checked and topped off if necessary.
Ambulance Driver Skills and Qualifications
Ambulance drivers must have knowledge of driving rules and laws as well as driving skills. Certifications required for this position vary by state, but a high school diploma and a valid state driver’s license are the typical minimum requirements. Employers also prefer candidates who have the following abilities:
- Defensive driving – because they respond to calls in heavy traffic conditions, wrecks, and adverse weather conditions, ambulance drivers must be able to safely and quickly maneuver their vehicle
- Communication skills – ambulance drivers must be able to effectively talk to, comfort, and reassure patients and family members, as well as be able to communicate effectively with dispatchers and medical professionals
- Map reading – traditional maps and GPS devices are used by ambulance drivers to determine the fastest and safest routes to their pickup locations and the hospital
- First aid – ambulance drivers must stay current on first aid procedures and be able to perform procedures such as bandaging, splinting, and administering oxygen
- Judgment and decision-making – they have to assess the situation and make quick and accurate decisions pertaining to patient care and routes
Ambulance Driver Education and Training
Ambulance drivers can obtain employment with a high school diploma and a valid state driver’s license. However, some states also require an emergency vehicle operator course certificate. Employers prefer candidates with one to two years of EMT or driving experience.
Ambulance Driver Salary and Outlook
The salary range for ambulance drivers is $20,000 to $43,000.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a faster-than-average growth rate for this occupation. Due to a fast-growing population and turnover from workers leaving this high-stress job, the job pool is expected to increase 15 percent through 2026.
Ready to enter the emergency services field? We’ve researched and compiled a list of resources to start you on your way to becoming an ambulance driver:
American Ambulance Association – a need for improvements in medical transportation and emergency services led to the formation of the AAA in 1979. The AAA serves hundreds of ambulance services across the United States. The mission of this organization is to “promote health care policies that ensure excellence in the ambulance services industry and provide research, education, and communications programs to enable its members to effectively address the needs of the communities they serve”
National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians – founded in 1975, NAEMT is the sole national organization that represents all emergency service practitioners. NAEMT serves its 65,000 members by acting as an advocate on issues that affect their professional interests, such as providing quality patient care and accessing high-quality education
A Day in the Life of an Ambulance Driver: The Good, the Bad, and the Stupid – author Adam Weddle shares real-life experiences that occurred during his 20-plus years in the emergency medical services field. Weddle served as a paramedic, EMT, and navy corpsman during this time span, and gives readers a vivid and detailed view of the many different medical situations that might be experienced in this field over a course of time. This is an excellent book for prospective emergency services professionals who would like to find out more about what they might experience on a day-to-day basis
Red 44: Memoirs of an Ambulance Driver – John Rushton gives a glimpse into the fast-paced life of an ambulance crew. Rushton was a part of a front-line ambulance crew based out of a Birmingham, Alabama, fire department during the mid-1960s through the mid-70s. He takes readers through incidents that the crew experienced, some with happy endings and others that ended tragically. This book provides readers with a real look into the highs and lows that comprise an ambulance driver’s experience
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