Emergency Medical Services Professions
EMTs assess the nature of the patient’s condition, while trying to determine whether the patient has any pre-existing medical conditions. Following protocols and guidelines, they provide emergency care and transport the patient to a medical facility. EMTs operate in emergency medical services (EMS) systems where a physician provides medical direction and oversight.
The EMT-Basic represents the first level response of the EMS. An EMT cares for patients at the scene of an accident and while transporting patients by ambulance to the hospital under the direction of more highly trained medical personnel. The EMT has the emergency skills to assess a patient’s condition and manage respiratory, cardiac, and trauma emergencies. The Advanced EMT has more advanced training with skills such as the use of advanced airway devices, intravenous fluids, and some medications.
The work of EMTs is not only physically strenuous but can be stressful, sometimes involving life-or-death situations and suffering patients. Many find the work exciting and challenging and enjoy the opportunity to help others. Because emergency services function 24 hours a day, EMTs may have irregular working hours and may work more than 40 hours per week.
Emergencies, such as car crashes and natural disasters will continue to require the skills of EMTs. Aging members of the baby boom generation are more likely to have medical emergencies, thereby increasing the demand for EMTs. Also, the time that EMTs must spend with each patient is increasing as emergency departments across the country are experiencing overcrowding.
Hospitals are increasingly specializing in treating a particular illness or injury. Most patients must be transferred by ambulance, so their condition can be monitored en route. Therefore, more demand for transfers between hospitals increases the demand for the services of EMTs.