Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a paramedic? Join Wendy as she talks with some paramedics and learns more about the work they do.

Watch the video. Then do the first Task. After watching the video again, complete Task 2 and Task 3. If you need help, you can read the Transcript at any time.


Think about the following questions:

  • How prepared are you for medical emergencies?
  • Would you want to work as a paramedic?

Join Wendy as she learns more about what it takes to be a paramedic.


Wendy: Here in the UK people like this are saving lives every hour of every day. [Paramedics speaking.] The Ambulance Service receives thousands of emergency calls. It is part of the National Health Service, which provides free health care, paid for out of taxation.

When someone’s reported a serious accident or emergency, ambulance crews get there as fast as they can. Their speed and medical education make the difference between life and death.

I’m spending a day with paramedics in Brighton, on the south coast of England.
These student medics are training at the University of Brighton. Most study for three years to pass the required exams. Their tutors watch and give feedback from a control room. [Student medics speaking.]

These emergencies are made to look as realistic as possible, so don’t worry – this accident is just pretend.

Emily Skinner is one of the students.

Wendy: What sort of person makes a good paramedic?

Emily: I think someone that can communicate well, who works well in a team, has leadership skills.

Wendy: What sort of emergencies do you prepare for?

Emily: Well, we could go to a huge range of emergencies: asthma, chest pain, people who’ve had injuries, trauma like in road traffic collisions.

Wendy: After passing their exams, the students can work in an ambulance like this. It is packed with the latest technology to help save lives.

Carl Walton is one of the paramedics in Brighton.

Wendy: Being a paramedic – is it the toughest job in the world?

Carl: It can be very challenging, can be very challenging. You know, we’re answering treble-nine calls, upwards of 8 to 12 a day, so that can be particularly stressful, very tiring, but trauma jobs are very challenging. There’s a lot going on and you have to – it’s a time-critical job. You’ve got to be on-scene for a very limited amount of time and get them to the trauma unit or hospital as fast as you can. It’s hard work but very rewarding.

Wendy: Carl normally works on his own and can get to a patient first in the ambulance car.

This is kind of a compact version of what you might expect an ambulance to be, so what have you got in it?

Carl: This is, I would say, the most important thing that we carry. This is a heart start machine. We use this if someone’s in cardiac arrest and we need to… an electric shock to restart their heart. And it’s nice and compact, it’s very portable and very easy to use compared to the ones that are carried on a lot of the ambulances, which are quite cumbersome and heavy.

Wendy: While we were talking to Carl, an emergency call comes in. This is a real one, this is it.

Carl: Yeah. Go, yeah.

Wendy: With blue lights on and sirens wailing, Carl gets to the incident as quickly as possible. Thanks, Carl. Good luck!

Fortunately, this time no-one was seriously hurt. It was just one of the many calls that crews from this station respond to every day. For Carl, it’s back to the station - until the next call out.

Language level

Intermediate: B1

Submitted by Murtada Hussein on Thu, 19/11/2020 - 07:01

Hi teacher morning I just wanna ask for a word(Amandeep) wich that word is meen

Submitted by LilianaVa on Mon, 02/10/2017 - 03:32

Hi everyone! I'm from Argentina. We don't have paramedics. Doctors are the ones who work in the ambulance service. I am one of them.

Submitted by Ephesus on Fri, 11/08/2017 - 18:46

I'm aware that and I can see this is a very serious job. However Im not young and not have necessary energy to do this type healty services. Of course I'm respectful who do this job that very important for human life.

Submitted by Nermeen Eletriby on Tue, 16/05/2017 - 00:52

Dear Sir, please , could you explain this sentence in which tense (When someone’s reported a serious accident or emergency ) Is this the present perfect ( someone has reported ) and why this sentence in the present perfect . she describes the duties of paramedic , so it should be present simple . Thanks in advance .

Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 16/05/2017 - 06:47

In reply to by Nermeen Eletriby


Hello Nermeen Eletriby,

This is an example of the present perfect form, as you say.

The present simple would be correct here and would describe the paramedics' general duties. However, the present perfect is also quite correct and makes the time relationship clearer (that the action follows a particular event).


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Vitru on Tue, 18/04/2017 - 13:55

I really would like to be a paramedic! In my opinion, it's one of the best jobs in the world, I love to solve health problems and to reassure the patient conditions. Besides, I think that everybody should have a paramedic course because it's important to know what to do in an emergency situation.

Submitted by Nizam Balinese on Sat, 18/03/2017 - 12:00

Hi Team. Help me with these, please? - Join Wendy as she talks with some paramedics and ..... - While we're talking to Carl, an emergency call comes in. What is the difference between 'talk with' and 'talk to' ? ================ "Here in the UK people like this are saving lives every hour of every day" Does this sentence include the present continous tense? Would you like to explain, please? Thank you very much.

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 19/03/2017 - 07:15

In reply to by Nizam Balinese


Hi Nizam Balinese,

There is no difference between 'talk to' and 'talk with'. You could use either of these in each sentence above without changing the meaning.

The present continuous is used in your other example to show actions that are constantly in progress. The simple form would describe a competed repeated event: at this hour they save someone, at another hour they save someone etc. The continuous form describes a repeated activity: at any particular hour they are in the process of saving someone. It emphasises the ongoing activity rather than the number of completed actions.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Online courses
Learn English online – with the world's English experts