How to Become an EMT or a Paramedic
Have you ever wondered what a Paramedic can do or what the training is like? Here is a description of the experience of the people who come to you in an emergency:
Initial training at the EMT-Basic level introduces the student to basic anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, patient assessment skills, CPR, immobilization of fractures, bleeding control, basic airway control, oxygen administration, childbirth and delivery, incident command for large-scale incidents, hazardous material awareness, blood-borne pathogens, emergency vehicle driver training, and operation of an automated external defibrillator. Ride time with a preceptor is mandated for practicing newly learned skills under the supervision of an experienced paramedic.
After completing EMT-Basic training, the EMT-Intermediate student receives further instruction on anatomy and physiology, and medical terminology and patient assessment. They also learn intravenous canulation, pulse oximetry, EKG interpretation, oral intubation, and how to administer specific medications. These medications include aspirin, nitroglycerine, dextrose, thiamine, epinephrine, benadryl, and nebulized albuterol along with the management of poisonings. Field training with experienced Paramedics and hospital clinical rotations are conducted along with classroom lectures.
Paramedic training goes into more depth on the topics covered in EMT and EMT-Intermediate classes. Paramedics also learn nasal intubation, cricothyrotomy, cardiac pacing, cardioversion, 12-lead EKG interpretation, manual removal of foreign body obstructions in the airway, needle decompression for collapsed lungs, and intraosseous canulation. Additional medications that can be given to treat heart attacks, diabetic reactions, allergic reactions, respiratory complications and cardiac arrest include morphine, versed, valium, lasix, glucagon, calcium, atropine, adenosine, lidocaine, sodium bicarbonate, romazicon, narcan, toradol, solumedrol, phenergan, brethine, magnesium, and dopamine. Ongoing field training and hospital rotations are performed through the duration of the Paramedic training.
Training doesn't stop once a student is out of school. Maintaining a Paramedic certification includes ongoing monthly training, fulfilling recertification requirements and advanced classes in cardiology, trauma care, and pediatrics.
So, the next time you see an ambulance, what you are really looking at is a mobile emergency room staffed with professional, highly trained medical technicians equipped with the latest technology which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
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