People's lives often depend on the quick reaction and competent care of emergency medical technicians (EMT-Basic) and paramedics (EMT-P). Incidents as varied as automobile accidents, heart attacks, slips and falls, childbirth, and gunshot wounds all require immediate medical attention. EMT's and paramedics provide this vital service as they care for and transport the sick or injured to a medical facility.
In an emergency, EMT's and paramedics are typically dispatched to the scene, where they often work with police and fire fighters. Once they arrive, EMT's and paramedics assess the nature of the patient's condition while trying to determine whether the patient has any pre-existing medical conditions. Following medical protocols and guidelines, they provide appropriate emergency care and, when necessary, transport the patient.
Some paramedics work as part of a helicopter's flight crew to transport critically ill or injured patients to hospital trauma centers and large tertiary care medical centers. The specific responsibilities of EMTs and paramedics depend on their level of certification and training.
The EMT- basic (EMT-B) represents the first component of the emergency medical services system. An EMT trained at this level is prepared to care for patients at the scene of an accident, and while transporting patients by ambulance to the hospital. The EMT-B has the emergency skills to assess a patient's condition and to provide basic management of respiratory, cardiac, and traumatic emergencies.
The paramedic provides the most extensive pre-hospital care. In addition to performing the duties of the EMT-B, paramedics may administer drugs orally and intravenously, interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs), perform endotracheal intubation, and use cardiac monitors and other complex medical equipment.
Many paramedics use their education and experience as a stepping stone to other careers in healthcare, such as emergency medical services administration, physician assistant (PA), registered nurse (RN), physician or EMS educator.Programs: