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EMT and Paramedic
By Ashley Boyce, allied health world staff writer
Published: January, 7 2010
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EMT & Paramedic—Taking a closer look into this field
Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and paramedics save lives everyday as an integral part of emergency medical response teams. They may work to assess and mitigate the effects of traumatic injury in the crucial moments immediately following car accidents, work or sports related accidents, and violent attack. They are also called upon to respond to heart attacks, women in labor, people who have fallen and experienced accidental injury in public settings, or any other incident that would require immediate on-site medical attention.
Learn more about EMT and paramedic training.
When an emergency call is made to 911 the operator assesses the situation to determine the nature and severity of a reported medical emergency. The operator then immediately dispatches EMS which always includes a Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance or specialized Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance. EMTs rush to the scene with the sense of urgency that only this kind of life-saving work can require. Upon arrival, EMTs immediately begin the work of trauma assessment to prioritize treatment of the most life-threatening injuries first.
EMTs and paramedics are given only the details that are immediately available to the dispatch operator. In many cases there isn’t enough information to know the exact nature or extent of the injury, the details surrounding the accident, or even the number of people involved. They may only know that they are responding to a car accident, or to a shooting, or to a person found unconscious. In some cases they fly completely blind with no information other than the location of the incident. In all instances, however, EMTs and paramedics come prepared, both psychologically and with the right equipment and training, to deal with any medical emergency they may encounter.
Paramedics have an advanced skill set beyond that of basic and intermediate
EMTs and have pursued paramedic-level certification by qualifying on an exam administered through either the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), or their state’s board of emergency medical services, or both.
Learn more about EMT and paramedic training.
Paramedics represent a more elite part of emergency response teams, so there are far fewer in practice than basic or intermediate EMTs. In fact about 90% of ambulances are staffed by basic or intermediate-level EMTs in what is referred to as a Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance, while only 10% are Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances staffed by paramedics. In extreme medical emergencies where Medevac or a hospital owned and operated helicopter is called in to extract an injured victim, it is an EMT with paramedic-level training who’s on board to administer pre-hospital care. Though paramedics are not MDs, their unique role in emergency medical care involves assessment and pre-hospital care under prescribed physician protocols.
Paramedics as well as Basic and Intermediate-level EMTs are called in response to life threatening injuries, however, the advanced expertise of a paramedic is called upon when more advanced procedures are needed for airway management, administration of IVs, or if more specified therapeutic drugs must be administered.
Do EMTs and paramedics work with other medical professionals?
Paramedics and EMTs of all levels work in conjunction with each other and other members of emergency medical response teams like police officers, firemen, and rescue workers to deliver much needed medical assistance quickly and efficiently. To watch a group of emergency medical professionals, each with a unique and specialized role, working together in concert to accomplish a common task, is an impressive testament to their skill and training.
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Police officers very often pursue some level of EMT training electively, and most fire departments now require their firemen to have paramedic-level certification. This cross-training helps create a mutual respect and professional homogony among members of EMS teams.
EMTs and paramedics also work closely with surgeons and physicians to communicate the findings of their on-site trauma assessment and the specifics of the pre-hospital treatment administered.
EMT & Paramedic Schools
You can complete Southeastern Institute's training programs in as few as 8 months! Receive hands-on instruction from caring instructors with practical experience in the fields in which they teach. Southeastern's small class sizes and individualized attention can be just the help that you need to succeed.
- Diploma in EMT-IV
At Fortis Institute, you may get the skills and training you need to prepare for a career.
* Programs vary by location
* Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information
As a student at Southeastern College, you will gain the training, skills, and knowledge you need to start a rewarding career in growing occupations such as practical nursing, emergency medical services, medical assisting, massage therapy, and pharmacy technology.
- Saint Petersburg
- AS in Emergency Medical Services
- Diploma in EMT-B - Paramedic