In additional to classroom lectures and practical skill building exercises, EMT students are required to complete 10 hours of practical experience outside the classroom. For most students, this means time in the Emergency Department (ED) of a local hospital.
Thanks in part to the fact that my EMT course is being taught through Atlantic Health's training arm, I was lucky enough to swing a shift with our local paramedics from the Mobile Intensive Care Unit or MICU.
Paramedics are an absolutely critical part of the EMS community. While EMTs have basic life support skills that are more than sufficient for many situations, Paramedics bring options for a higher level of care, especially when it comes to pharmacological options such as providing pain and other medications (often intravenously). They also provide advanced airway management options, such as intubation, that EMTs are not qualified to perform directly.
Of course, it's also useful for EMTs to understand these interventions, and be prepared to support Paramedics in their application and use. This is why Advanced Life Saving (ALS) skills are covered as part of the EMT coursework.
But not all calls require Paramedic interventions, and one the key takeaways I got from my time with Kathy and her partner Dave was just how critical the basic EMT assessment skills are in terms of determining when and why Paramedics are truly needed.
After all, if they are responding to a call of questionable need simply because an EMT decided to request Paramedics "just in case", it certainly means that they are unavailable for someone else in a truly life-threatening situation.
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Jon Alperin, one of our MFAS volunteers, shares his journey to becoming an NJ certified EMT.
from the Start
Here is Jon's journey, presented in time order: