What Specifics Do EMTs and Paramedics Learn in School?
Basic or intermediate emergency medical technician certification takes somewhere between 150 and 350 hours to complete. Most often students attend a community or technical college to complete an EMT/Paramedic training course but there are some state universities that offer such courses as well.
The first step in the training process is for all students to become familiar with basic human anatomy and physiology by taking theory based courses in a classroom setting. Once proficient in these basics the student can move on and begin to learn the emergency medicine skills and techniques they will need every day out in the field. These practical courses include:
Patient Trauma Assessment – Within minutes of their arrival at the scene of a medical emergency EMTs and paramedics must have been able to access the basic condition of the patient they are there to assist. EMTs and paramedics learn to access vital signs quickly and correctly as well as how to prioritize symptoms or injuries so that the most serious of conditions are addressed first.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) – It is essential that EMTs and paramedics learn to perform CPR without a second thought. Students are trained in the various combinations of rescue breathing and chest compressions on victims of cardiac arrest, procedures that on many occasions are the ultimate lifesaver.
Bleeding Control and Splinting –Stopping bleeding quickly can save a patient’s life so learning how to do so quickly is an essential part of the EMT/Paramedic training. Students learn all about the locations of the major pressure points in the human body that can be used to stem dangerous bleeding.
Splinting involves use of either specially manufactured splints or improvised materials to temporarily immobilize a fractured arm or leg until a proper cast can be made. Having an injury properly splinted greatly reduces the pain an individual is suffering from so that the EMT or paramedic attending to them is well trained in the procedure is crucial. Students also learn spine immobilization, which can prevent permanent damage occurring to the body of a patient who may be suffering from spinal injuries.
What is a Paramedic Trained to do that an EMT is not? – Paramedic training is a good deal more intensive than that of basic or intermediate EMTS. In addition to learning all that an EMT must a paramedic also receives instruction in advanced airway management, which can literally spell the difference between life and death and also how to properly insert and start an IV and perform an EKG.
Paramedics also take pharmacology courses, studying various drugs and their effects and possible interactions.