An Emergency Medical Technician is a doctor or clinician who is trained to quickly respond to medical emergencies such as traumatic injuries or accidents.
EMT courses are usually between 3 weeks to 11 weeks (though it depends on the learner’s speed in learning).
Becoming an Emergency Medical Technician requires a specific education level:
- Completion of the EMT basic training. This may take up to 2 years depending upon where you study.
- Required to pass the State exam and become certified.
- It is non-mandatory to complete the Advanced level.
- It is also non-mandatory to complete the two year Degree course.
EMT Education Requirements:
- You need to complete a secondary diploma and certified EMT training.
- EMT training has 3 levels: EMT- basic, EMT- intermediate and Paramedic.
- The EMT-basic covers various different skills including bleeding control, fractures, cardiac emergencies and respiratory emergencies i.e. asthma/loss of breath etc.
- The EMT-intermediate covers additional training of up to 350 hours. This teaches you to operate intravenous injections, specific medications and how to handle advanced equipment such as CPR machines etc.
- Paramedic is the highest level. Paramedic courses usually consist of anatomy and physiology training.
- Certification and warrant. Once an Emergency Medical Technician completes his/her training, he/she must pass an NREMT exam which is the National Registry Emergency Medical Technician Exam.
In order to become an Emergency Medical Technician, one must complete the training program and must also be completely clear of criminal records.
An Emergency Medical Technician is required to be able to see perfectly, being fit physically and mentally is extremely important because sometimes, in some emergency situations, they may need to lift or move a patient. An Emergency Medical Technician must also be alert at all times because an emergency situation can occur anywhere, at any hour!
Skills and Responsibilities Required to Becoming an EMT:
- Managing Trauma- A Emergency Medical Technician is required to be able to deal with traumatized patients. In some situations such as a death of a family member or loved one in an accident can traumatize someone and lead to depression/anxiety. An EMT needs to be able to prevent that from happening.
- Making Patient Assessments- in an emergency medical situation, an EMT is the first one to arrive and therefore is the first one to be able to identify and assess the patient/victim.
- Nursing Burns- Burns caused from a fire usually, is very sensitive and needs to be treated quickly to avoid it becoming septic and worse. Thus, an EMT is required to be skilled to nurse a burn.
- Being Aware of Drugs and their Uses- Emergency Medical Technicians are required to be familiar with drugs/medicines used in medical emergencies.
Examples of these drugs are painkillers i.e. aspirin and paracetamol, drugs used to either slow down or increase heartbeat etc. (Also keeping in mind the drug side effects).
- Perform emergency childbirth procedures.
- Stabilizing head and neck injuries.
- Stabilizing broken bones/treating a fracture
- Providing oxygen for patients.
An Emergency Medical Technician can also be trained online.
Online training is very convenient for students nowadays, students can study and train at the same time. They can gain hands on experience through training too. Online training attracts lots of students across the world as it easily fits into their daily busy schedules.
Learning how to Use Specific Equipment:
It is essential for Emergency Medical Technicians to learn and train how to use specific medical equipment so that they don’t get stranded when faced with an emergency situation.
Some of the equipment include:-
- Airway Suction Units
- Portable Oxygen Equipment
- Cardboard Splints
- Oxygen Masks
- Intravenous Injections.
Types of Emergencies that EMTs respond to:
- A heart attack
- Complications that diabetic patients may face
- Severe allergic reactions
- Labor and childbirth
- Hypothermia could be as a result of drowning.
A day in the life of an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) …
An EMT’s job is to provide First Aid or in other words, Basic Life Support (BLS) to patients in emergency situations such as car/motorbike accidents, fire accidents, shooting/stabbing etc.
Emergency Medical Technicians usually work in shifts and could be up to 48 hours a week with a couple of days for resting. This responsibility is suitable for individuals that prefer working at night and sleeping during the day, individuals that don’t like working the standard 9 am to 5 pm jobs.
While the EMT transports a patient to the nearest hospital, he/she is required to be in close contact with medical staff about the patient’s condition and also what treatment the EMT has provided so that as soon as they arrive at the hospital, no time is wasted and the patient is quickly treated. For instance, it must be reported if the patient was suffering an asthma attack and what treatment was given.
Once the Emergency Medical Technician responds to an emergency call, he/she must fill in a report describing the incident that occurred. This report will be recorded in case this incident was a crime and needs to be further investigated later on.
In a day, an EMT could have more than 5 emergencies simultaneously or back to back. Therefore in between responding to two emergencies, the EMT must ensure that the ambulance is disinfected and clean before the next patient is put inside and replace any equipment used.
Otherwise, their free time, the time when they don’t have any emergencies, can be used to chill, watch a movie or what most of them would go for; sleep!
Characteristics required of an EMT:
- Being able to stay calm and tackle stressful/traumatic incidents.
- Strength to be able to carry or transport a patient, or in some situations, many patients one after the other.
- Being aware and knowing their way around certain medical equipment.
- Punctuality and commitment whenever an emergency occurs.
- Good communication skills because they need to be in contact with medical staff while transportation of patients.
- Problem solving skills.