Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Road to Becoming an Emergency Medical Technician

On a daily basis, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) help those who need emergency medical care throughout the country in communities ranging from rural to urban areas. EMT's will provide emergency medical care in a variety of settings to people suffering from a variety of conditions. The most common setting is in the prehospital environment where EMT's can be found on an ambulance. In the prehospital setting, EMT's can expect to assist Advanced EMT 's (AEMT) and / or paramedics in providing basic and advanced care to a variety of patients ranging from trauma victims to those suffering from various medical conditions.
EMT's can be found in other areas as well. The profession is growing by leaps and bounds everyday. It is very common to find EMT's working alongside physicians and nurses in emergency departments and in urgent care centers. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, EMT's can expect to find many opportunities in various non-traditional settings.
EMT's can be expected to administer a variety of treatments to patients. Skills comprise of basic life support measures including the insertion of oral and nasal airways, application of an automated external defibrillator, administration of aspirin to patients having a possible heart attack, and basic trauma care. These skills are considered foundational and are used as a starting point when progressing to the more advanced levels including AEMT and Paramedic.
In most states, to become an EMT one will have to attend a course that is approved by the state the program is located in. Most states have a state agency that is dedicated to regulating the emergency medical services (EMS) including educational programs that focus on training EMT's. Programs are generally six months to one year in length, depending on how fast one wants to move. Regardless of the length of the program, the same content is covered and the hours required to complete the course are similar. The major difference is in how many days a week one will have to dedicate to the program. I have a saying, "It is not acceptable for an EMT to know only 80% of a subject." With this said, it must be understood that regardless if it is a six month class or a year long course, EMT students must master as close to 100% of the course material as possible. As an EMT, it should be your goal to help as many people as possible by NOT making the situation worse. You must strive to be the best and to strive to provide the best patient care possible.

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