An emergency medical technician is a trained caregiver who assists sick or injured people in emergency situations. Since most of the situations that an EMT is faced with are life-and-death situations, the caregivers must be emotionally stable, and have excellent dexterity, as well as good physical coordination. An emergency medical technician will often work long hours, both inside and outside, and may be subjected to violent behavior from confused patients or patients with a drug overdose. EMTs usually work in pairs, and when they have to transport the sick or injured patient to the nearest hospital or medical facility, one will be driving and the other will be staying with the patient inside the ambulance, while keeping permanent contact with the health care team at the hospital where the patient is being taken, so they can give necessary instructions and be prepared for their arrival.
Anyone who wishes to become an emergency medical technician can do so, by registering for the EMT courses within the training program offered by any EMT training program. The only prerequisite is that you have a high school diploma. EMT courses vary according to the level that the students prepare for. There are different types of EMT courses for each level, from level 1 EMT Basic to level 4 EMT Paramedic. Advancement to a higher level requires completion of all previous levels. The EMT courses are different in that their content becomes more and more various and substantial as the student moves to a higher level in the EMT training. However, any EMT training program must provide training both in the classroom, and on-the-job, that is in the emergency room or on an ambulance.
After the completion of EMT courses, the student should be able to perform life support procedures in a safe and accurate manner, whether they are basic or advanced. Since the EMT’s most important duty is patient assessment, the student should also be able to decrease a potential crisis state by establishing a rapport with the patient. During the EMT training program the student will also learn how to ensure care and safety for the patient, while working as part of a team. Recognizing a medical emergency, assessing the situation, making physical examination, obtaining the patient’s medical history, and, if necessary, extricating the patient, all of these are taught during EMT courses.
The responsibilities of an emergency medical technician are numerous and the EMT training program should cover all the situations that the future EMT may be faced with. That’s why the EMT courses last for many weeks, the exact number varying according to level and training program.
Upon completion of EMT courses, the students should also be able to initiate the appropriate and non-invasive treatments for all types of emergencies, such as cardiac, medical, surgical, psychiatric, etc., as well as for respiratory problems and trauma. Should the EMT have more than one patient to treat, he/she should also be able to set priorities in the treatment. Preparing and checking the equipment and supplies of the ambulance is also the EMT’s responsibility. EMT courses will also teach students to cooperate with other agencies, such as police department or the fire department, in order to care for and transport the patient the in best and fastest way possible.
In spite of all responsibilities and strenuous work, most EMTs are firmly convinced that their work is a very rewarding one. If you want to become an EMT, remember that certification is only possible after the completion of the required EMT courses at any authorized EMT training program.