Want to be an EMT? This is what you need to know about the job

The broadest sense of the EMT job description states that they're required to provide emergency medical support to people who are injured or critically ill and transport them to a medical facility

When investigating the EMT job description, it's important to take into account all of the duties of this important life-saving profession. If you're thinking of becoming an EMT, it's important to know the requirements of the job so you can assess whether you're suited to it. If you already are an EMT, you might want a refresher on the job description so you can see if you're performing all of your duties properly. You also might want to check to see if your employer is asking you to fulfill duties that are outside the realm of normal EMT responsibilities. 

The broadest sense of the EMT job description states that they're required to provide emergency medical support to people who are injured or critically ill and transport them to a medical facility, if necessary.

If working in a first responder situation such as an ambulance service or fire department, the EMT job description entails being dispatched to the scene of the emergency. This can be a car accident, a fire, a falling injury, a dog bite, a shooting or stabbing, a birth, or a person who's suddenly fallen ill. Once at the scene of the emergency, EMTs assess the situation and determine if additional assistance is needed, and order it, if necessary.

The ultimate task in the EMT job description is to assess the medical needs of the sick or injured and provide immediate care, with priority given to those who are the most seriously in need of help. Once this assessment takes place, they perform whatever medical assistance is needed as long as it's within the scope of their training.

The medical duties performed in the EMT job description include providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), opening a patient's airway so they can breathe, and providing ventilation assistance. Other medical treatment includes bandaging wounds, stabilizing broken bones, controlling bleeding, administering oxygen, and treating shock. EMTs also assist in childbirth and help people with mental disorders in need of medical assistance.

EMTs must always perform their duties in a calm, reassuring and efficient manner. They must be able to maintain their composure in extremely stressful situations in order to assess medical situations and perform emergency lifesaving procedures according to the methods in which they've received training. They must also be able to safely transfer a patient onto and lift and carry a stretcher into the ambulance in the event the patient needs to go to the hospital. The EMT job description means that they continue to give care as necessary during the transport of the patient to the hospital.

The EMT job description also requires that they notify the hospital emergency department of the nature and extent of the medical treatment provided and give an account of the patient's medical condition. If in communication with a doctor, they must provide assistance at their direction. They should also transfer the patient from the ambulance into the emergency room and provide whatever additional assistance is needed to maintain the safety of the patient.

Filling out reports is part of the EMT job description so that the hospital staff can have a written description of the emergency procedures performed on the patient. They must also complete a written report for their employer.

EMTs are required to clean and disinfect their ambulance after each call and replace any supplies necessary to maintain the performance of their duties.

A part of the EMT job description also entails maintaining their certification by attending continuing education and refresher courses as required by their state's certifying authorities.


About the author

EMS 101 articles are intended to educate a non-emergency medical services audience about the emergency medical services profession. These articles are written by EMS1 staff members and EMS1 contributors, and cover a wide range of topics from EMS protocols all paramedics & EMTs should follow to an overview of the necessary requirements for becoming a paramedic.

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  2. EMT, EMS, Paramedic Jobs and Careers

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