Emergency Medical Technicians are extremely important in attending to people in case of emergencies. While providing medical care at emergency scenes, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) need to exhibit competence and swift reaction to save the lives of those affected (Schwartz, McManus & Swienton, 2008). The core duties of EMTs are to administer emergency care, examine injuries and ensure that injured or ill people get medical attention in hospitals. The New York State Department of Health is responsible for certifying Emergency Medical Technicians at different levels. The certification depends on qualifications and level of training. The required learning qualifications for the different levels of emergency medical technicians are discussed below.
Emergency technicians provide medical attention to patients at the scene of an emergency and on the way to the hospital. According to National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (2011), in order for a technician to acquire the EMT-Basic certification, it is necessary to have a sound comprehension of the following:
- The ability to handle stress and trauma through competent pre-hospital medical care to the patients. For instance, controlling hemorrhage, treating shock and wounds.
- An EMT-Basic should have the capacity to assess patients at the scene of an emergency as well as on the way to the hospital for further treatment. Constant assessments are vital in maintaining the stability of the patient.
- An EMT-Basic should have the ability to offer cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
- The ability to offer appropriate ventilation for patients at emergency scenes.
- While providing medical care to patients, an EMT-Basic should have the capability to work without undue pressure in order to enhance the safety of the patients.
- The EMT-Basic should be able to conduct a medical history of a patient, examine the physical elements of a patient to ascertain the most feasible plan of action.
- A technician in this level should have a good understanding of the techniques of lifting and moving patients using a stretcher or a stair chair.
- The EMT-Basic should be in a position to work in a confident manner to reassure patients that their medical needs are under competent hands.
The EMT-Intermediate has more training than the EMT-Basic; hence, he can perform specialized medical operations to patients. For example, an EMT-Intermediate can administer intravenous fluids and use defibrillators to provide lifesaving shocks to a stopped heart. According to the New York State Department of Health (2013), an EMT-Intermediate should have competencies in the following areas to earn a certification:
- An EMT-Intermediate should have the ability to perform the duties of EMT-Basic. Since the level is higher than the EMT-Basic, a technician should have the technical competence of basic emergency medical techniques (Schwartz, McManus and Swienton, 2008).
- An EMT-Intermediate should be in a position to offer advanced life support techniques to patients in an emergency situation. For example, one should have the required competence in giving intravenous therapy.
- In instances of cardiac and respiratory arrest, an EMT-Intermediate should have the necessary knowledge stabilize the medical conditions of a patient.
The EMT-Critical Care is a level higher to the EMT-Intermediate. While providing emergency medical services to patients, a technician at the critical care level is obliged to give advanced life support care to those affected.
According to the New York State Department of Health (2013), certification for EMT-Critical Care requires the following learning competencies:
- Technicians in this level should possess skills of providing basic and intermediate levels of emergency medical services. With adequate competence in the basic and intermediate levels enhances the capacity of providing critical care.
- An EMT-Critical Care certification requires one to have the adequate ability to offer life support medical services through the EMT-Intermediate equipment.
- Since the level deals with critical care in the event of emergencies, a technician should have the knowledge to administer the correct medication to patients. Technicians in this level should be able to carefully assess the condition of a patient to aid in the medication process (Schwartz, McManus and Swienton, 2008).
- An EMT-Critical Care should be in a position to manage the conditions of patients in an emergency setting. For example, a technician should have advanced airway management to handle respiratory and cardiac problems.
- An EMT-Critical Care should demonstrate great competency in monitoring and interpreting the progress of patients in pre-hospital care.
In handling emergency medical services, paramedics are versed with the obligation of providing the most wide-ranging care. Given their level of qualification and training, paramedics are able to provide the tasks listed above.
Apart from the medical tasks above, paramedics should have specialized skills to enable them to acquire certification. According to the New York State Department of Health (2013), the significant learning requirements for paramedic certificating include:
- A paramedic should be in a position to carry out electrocardiogram monitoring and administer correct treatment protocols.
- A paramedic should have the appropriate credentials of handling cardiac life support.
- Possessing the knowledge of administering proper medical techniques to patients is extremely important for a paramedic (National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (2011).Based on the uniqueness of emergency situations, understanding diverse medication techniques are a significance competence for paramedics.
- Certification for EMT-Paramedic requires one to have the ability to employ a wide scope of patient assessment like the use of the otoscope and opthalmoscope.
- EMT-Paramedics should have the skills of using complex equipment to provide the most convenient and quick response to emergency situations.
- EMT-Paramedics should be in a position to help emergency room staff in a hospital by giving additional treatment to patients.
Emergency medical technicians are imperative in providing medical care to patients in an emergency situation. Their quick response is crucial because it translates into the ability of the patients to stabilize. In this respect, pre-hospital care deems it necessary for emergency medical technicians to have adequate training to perform the demanding tasks of rescuing and enhancing the safety of patients. The actions of emergency technicians before patients are transferred to the hospital require competence in order to handle diverse emergency situations.
Based on the importance of emergency medical technicians, states have diverse procedures of giving certification to qualified personnel. Irrespective of the different certification procedures, competence is an essential consideration in giving certification to technicians. Hence, it is worth noting that the New York State Paramedic Certification capitalizes on proficiency as an instrumental factor in enhancing the quality of health standards.
- National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (2011). PHTLS: Prehospital Trauma Life Support (7th ed.). St. Louis, Mo.: Mosby Jems/Elsevier.
- New York State Department of Health. (2013). Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Certification and Education
- Schwartz, R. B., McManus, J. G., & Swienton, R. E. (2008). Tactical emergency medicine. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.