The overall role of an employee of an ambulance service can be separated into two groups: administrative personnel and clinical personnel. Administrative personnel typically do not respond to calls in an ambulance. On the other side, clinical personnel spend the majority of their time responding to ambulance calls out in the field and away from administrative staff. That does not mean, however, that clinical staff members never share administrative responsibilities.
Administrative staffers spend a majority of their time handling day-to-day operations management. This includes a service director, a liaison officer, shift managers, and clerical staff. Within this group there is also a division between personnel who are strictly clerical from those who share clinical responsibilities. Clerical staffers maintain reports of ambulance calls completed by clinical staff members. They can also answer phones and perform many activities associated with any other clerical office worker.
Administrative Staff--Shared Clinical
Administrative staffers who also share clinical responsibilities are not uncommon in an ambulance service. The operations manager may be expected to work in an ambulance for a certain number of hours per week to maintain her clinical skills. Shift managers may roam in a separate vehicle from the ambulance to serve as support and to evaluate field personnel. In other situations, administrative clinical staffers may consistently work on an ambulance to facilitate field care management.
The difference between an administrative clinician and a clinical administrator is delineated by how much time the staff member spends on clinical aspects of the operation. Clinical administrators may be in charge of maintaining continuing education records, planning education events to keep clinicians up to date on new or changing technologies in the field, and/or facilitating public relation events in the community. Clinical administrators do not deal in operations management or the fiscal side of the service.
Clinical staffers are considered the ambulance service employees who work entirely on the ambulance responding to emergency calls or transporting patients from one medical facility to another. These employees usually answer to a shift supervisor or field manager. Other than completing documentation concerning a record of the patient encounter, they may be expected to complete and submit billing service claims that are then forwarded to clerical staffers who deal with matters of insurance reimbursement.
Specific Administrative Job Responsibilities
Ambulance service administrative staff members can be expected to engage in the following activities: fiscal management of the ambulance operation's yearly budget, interviewing candidates for hire sent from human resources, maintaining health and immunisation records for clinical staff, meeting with community leaders, answering patient complaints, sitting for long periods answering phone calls or using word processing computer programs, filing, completing billing paperwork, mediating conflict between other department personnel, and/or assisting with clinical practices.
Routine Clinical Responsibilities
Ambulance service clinical staff can be expected to engage in the following activities: working outside in varying environmental conditions, maintaining continuing education requirements, driving the ambulance, treating patients in the passenger compartment, working directly with the ill and injured, answering and responding to 911 calls, working with police and fire brigade officials, practicing clinical skills in the presence of infectious contagions and/or where bloodborne precautions are a concern, all while using critical-thinking skills to solve problems.