Starting a Career as an Emergency Medical Technician

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Emergency medical technicians (EMT) or paramedics (as they are referred to in Australia and a few other countries) don’t depend on fire-fighting pumps to save lives during an emergency. The tools of the trade typically include a stethoscope, an oxygen mask, a stretcher, defibrillator, and of course, an ambulance. EMTs are usually attached to government agencies, private ambulance services, hospitals, and fire departments.

You are currently completing the associate of science program in emergency response services at Creighton College. You’re excited to take ride the ambulance. Is the job of an EMT as exciting as what TV shows like Chicago Fire paint it to be?

Here’s what you should know about becoming an EMT:

A Brief Background of the EMT Profession

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) estimates that there are nearly 241,000 EMTs and paramedics in America as of 2018. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics expects that employment growth would continue at a rate of 7%. The median pay is just below $34,400 per year.

Becoming an EMT

EMTs in Action

Finishing your course on emergency services is one of the critical steps you need to take. Here are a few things that you should be aware of:

  1. Work-life balance. It’s a stressful and very intense working environment. If you can’t create a work-life balance, you will be less effective at your job. If you’re less effective, then you put lives in danger. Consider looking for a place where you can practice your profession and still have a good life. Gainesville in GA, Johnstown in PA, and Rochester in MN are the top three city’s that offer the best quality of life to EMTs. State-wise, Georgia, and Arizona are the top two states EMT-destination states.
  2. Be in control. Maintaining your composure is a necessity in the EMT job. You must be 100% focused on what you are doing and must be able to make the right call in situations where the lives of citizens are in your hands. Clarity and objectivity in analyzing your medical emergency is something that you should possess.
  3. Physical and soft skills. You’re likely running plights of stairs or carrying heavy individuals to safety. Physical strength and stamina are also required. And your soft skills should include excellent problem-solving and communication skills. Deciding on how to intervene requires a split-second, and you must be able to make the right call. You will be dealing with people in other professions like the police or people from the neighborhood. Your message must be received positively to get the needed response to a situation.
  4. Handle inherent challenges. Your veteran colleagues won’t immediately warm up to you. That’s okay. As someone coming out of school, you won’t quickly get their respect. You must earn it first. Don’t take these reactions too personally. Focus on the job at hand and do your work as professionally as you can. Likewise, the tension between first responders and the management happens because of the lack of proper communication. Stay away from office gossip, and if you have a problem with individual decisions from the administration, reach out through email or a person-to-person meeting to discuss your concerns. Communication resolves issues and improves the process. Gossip merely brings more chaos.

Finally, you need to spend time for yourself to survive in this profession. Find ways to unwind and recharge your batteries. Find groups, like yoga sessions or meditation groups, that will help you clear your mind.

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