EMT jobs are one of the most rewarding careers for many, as those who follow an EMT career are often seen as angels of mercy by those who find themselves in some sort of medical emergency. Emergency Medical Technician jobs are very hard on those who do them, as they are constantly faced with situations wherein the balance of life hangs in their hands and these situations are also often very dangerous.
EMTs, or Emergency Medical Technicians are those who respond to emergencies such as drowning, strokes, car accidents, falls, heart attacks, violent assaults, natural disasters and other situations requiring emergency medical attention. EMTS are accredited with saving many lives as they are normally the first respondents when there is an emergency and it is their training and quick actions which are so crucial at this time.
EMTs and Paramedics are typically dispatched to a scene by a 911 operator and very often work with fire department personnel and police on the scene. EMT personnel determine the condition of the patient, the nature of the emergency, and ascertain whether they have any pre-existing medical conditions. Appropriate emergency care is rendered, according to strict rules and guidelines, and where necessary the patient is transported to a medical facility.
Characteristics For An EMT Career
Because being an emergency medical technician is a job in which one is constantly faced with life and death situations and irregular and long hours, it takes a special kind of person to become one. There are very specific skills and abilities which one requires, apart from the training which one undergoes:
Deductive Reasoning – The ability to reason from cause to effect. An EMT must be able to apply general rules to particular problems and arrive at logical solutions which make sense.
Inductive Reasoning – The ability to reason from detailed facts to general principles. An EMT must be able to combine separate bits of information or particular answers to problems in order to format general codes of conduct or determinations. This includes being able to deduce and logically explain why seemingly unrelated events occur together.
Oral Comprehension – The ability to understand ideas and information delivered via spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression – The ability to convey ideas and information through speech in a way that is easily understood by others.
Problem Sensitivity – An EMT needs to be able to recognize when there is a problem or when a problem is likely to occur. This does not include solving the problem, just the recognition that there is one.
Active Listening – This ability to listen to what others are saying and ask questions where appropriate is a crucial skill for an EMT.
Coordination – An EMT needs to be able to quickly adjust their own actions in relation to another’s actions.
Critical Thinking – An EMT must be able to apply logical thinking and analysis in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses inherent in different approaches.
Equipment Selection – AN EMT needs to be able to quickly determine which equipment is needed in a particular situation.
Speaking – Effectively being able to convey information to others by means of speech.
Apart from all of the above, those who perform EMT jobs will have to perform very physical tasks such as bending, kneeling, and heavy lifting. This means that an EMT needs to be physically strong and fit in order to perform their duties to the best of their ability. Emergency Medical Technician jobs require strength, dexterity, agility and good physical coordination. They must also be able to carry heavy loads and need to have color vision and excellent eyesight although they may wear corrective lenses.
EMT Career – Education and training
The specific responsibilities that come with an EMT job depend on the level of qualification and training. Training for an EMT career starts with acquiring a high-school diploma and then following a progressive program of study. EMT job training is offered through Colleges, Community Colleges, Universities, Technical Schools, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Academies and Hospitals.
It is important that you do your training at an accredited institution in order to get certified. Programs can last between six months and four years, depending on the level of qualification. Graduates of Community College training programs receive associates degrees, and those who graduate from a four-year program receive a Bachelor Degree in Emergency Medical Technology. There are three basic levels:
1. EMT Jobs – EMT Basic
- The EMT-Basic level course covers emergency skills such as patient assessment and managing trauma, respiratory, and cardiac emergencies.
- Basic – EMT jobs training often includes practical training in a hospital emergency department or an ambulance, as part of their clinical training; clinical requirements vary by state.
- Instruction and practical training in handling airway obstruction, cardiac arrest, emergency childbirth, and in dealing with bleeding and fractures also forms part of the EMT-Basic level course.
- Trainees are also taught how to handle emergency equipment such as splints, suction devices, oxygen delivery systems, backboards, and stretchers.
- EMT Basic training requires 120 hours of classroom work and 180 hours of field work.
- Graduates must take a written exam administered by the NREMT or the State Licensing Agency.
2. EMT Jobs – EMT Intermediate
- EMT Intermediate training requires between 30 and 350 hours of field training. This is based on the scope of practice in the state in which the EMT-I wants to get certified.
- EMT-I students learn more advanced life-saving techniques such as administering intravenous fluids, clearing the airway with the use of sophisticated equipment, and how to use a defibrillator.
- The skills taught on EMT-I programs vary greatly from state to state.
3. Paramedic Training
- Paramedic training is the most advanced training that emergency professionals can do.
- Paramedic training is offered at community colleges and technical schools, and is either 12 months or 24 months duration and could result in an associate’s degree.
- Training is very advanced and includes formal instruction in physiology and anatomy and advanced medical skills.
- Paramedic training requires 1,000 or more hours of field training.
Emergency Medical Technician Job Responsibilities
EMT jobs are very important to all of us because these are the people who may hold our lives in their hands one day if we ever find ourselves in an emergency situation. EMT personnel are usually the first to arrive on the scene of an accident or another type of emergency such as a fire or drowning. The basic EMT duties are as follows:
1. Basic Life Support
- Life support – EMTs are trained in Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation.
- Heart Attacks – EMTs are also trained to offer support to someone who has suffered from a heart attack.
- Bleeding – control and staunching of excessive bleeding to prevent further damage or death.
- Shock – most people who suffer a trauma will go into shock, and EMTs are trained to deal with this phenomenon.
- Poisoning – time is of the essence when someone has been poisoned and EMTs are trained to deal with cases of poisoning.
- Bandaging wounds – intravenous insertion and administering emergency medication is also within the scope of EMTs.
2. Non-Life-Threatening Care
- Sports injuries – many of these types of injuries are non life-threatening but nevertheless require immediate emergency attention.
- Splints – broken bones need to be taken care of until the patient reaches a hospital, and the EMT will do this by applying a splint.
- Equipment – such as backboards, stretchers and neck braces are all part of the EMT arsenal.
- Cuts and Abrasions – and burns also form part of emergency treatment which an EMT will perform.
- Birthing – one of the EMT jobs that are always a pleasure is delivering a newborn. EMTs are skilled in delivery and newborn care.
- Communication – Verbal and written communication skills are vital for those doing EMT jobs. They need to be able to communicate effectively with a patient who is in trauma, and relay information to other emergency personnel.
- Protocol – it is important that an EMT stick to the communication and dispatch protocol at all times.
- Driving – all EMTs are trained in emergency and defensive driving techniques.
- Legal Aspects – an important aspect to every EMT job is the knowledge of legal aspect of emergency treatment and knowing whether to provide or withhold treatment.
- Ambulance – once a patient has been delivered to the hospital, the EMT needs to ensure that the ambulance is prepared for the next call. They need to ensure that it is cleaned up if necessary and that supplies are replenished.
EMT Jobs – Scope Of Practice
According to the National Scope of Practice for EMTs there are four levels of EMS licensure:
- Emergency Medical Responder (EMR), Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Advanced EMT (AEMT), and Paramedic.
- Each level represents a unique set of skills, knowledge-base and role.
- Basic EMTs handle the basic non-life threatening tasks but may not administer medications.
- The National EMS Education Standards and the National EMS Scope of Practice Model ensure that there is a strong interdependent system which assures the competency of emergency medical personnel in the United States.
EMT Jobs – Work Environment
Emergency Medical personnel work in teams and the nature of their work takes them to all kinds of scenes, indoors and outdoors. They usually work in teams of two, with one driving the ambulance and the other keeping the patient stable in the back. They have a lot to deal with in the discharge of their duties and it takes a special type of person to enter into an EMT career.
Things to note when deciding to study to be an EMT:
- EMT jobs are tough on emergency medical personnel, and the trauma they constantly deal with places a great deal of stress on them.
- Working in all kinds of weather conditions and working long and irregular hours are added stressors.
- Exposure to constant sirens can affect the hearing and even lead to hearing-loss.
- EMT jobs also expose emergency personnel to contactable diseases such as Hepatitis-B and AIDS.
- Dealing with violent drug-users is also dangerous and stressful.
- Medical emergencies happen 24/7, which means that EMT jobs are not 9-5 jobs; EMTs and paramedics often work odd hours and long shifts.
- Emergency Medical personnel who work on private ambulances usually work between 45-50 hours per week; those working in fire-departments average approximately 50 hours per week and those in hospital service work 45 to 60 hours per week.
Emergency Medical Technician Job Prospects
Job prospects in an EMT career are good because people are living longer these days due to medical advances and innovative technology. This also means, however, that there are more people who need emergency medical treatment. EMT services are largely moving away from volunteer services to paid EMT jobs, and job growth is projected to grow at a minimum of 12% per annum.
EMT jobs also open up due to older EMTs retiring or leaving to follow careers in other fields or in EMT education. More private ambulance services will also offer opportunities for Emergency Medical Technician jobs, as will local fire-departments and police departments. There may still be a need for volunteer EMT personnel in the rural areas as they do not have enough emergencies to support paying for full-time EMTs.
As a large segment of the older population, the one-time “baby-boomers” get older, there will be more need for emergency services, and hence the demand for Emergency Medical Technicians and paramedics will grow accordingly. There will also be more EMT jobs created due the fact that the time that EMTs spend with patients is increasing due to the emergency departments in many hospitals experiencing overcrowding; this means that the transfer of the patient form the ambulance to the hospital takes longer, and the EMT must remain with the patient during this time. Some hospitals cannot help at all and divert ambulances to other hospitals who can handle the emergency sooner. All of this means that ambulances may have to drive farther to deliver their patient into the hands of hospital personnel, which means that the amount of time they have to spend with a patient whilst in transit is dramatically increased.
Another reason why there is set to be an increase in EMT jobs is the fact that many hospitals are now specializing in treating specific illnesses or injuries. This means that more patients need to be transferred to the hospital which is best suited to their treatment, and not just the nearest hospital. As patients need to be monitored whilst en route, the demand for transfers between hospitals is set to grow and with that the need for more EMTs and paramedics.