Who comes to your mind when you think of an emergency medical situation: Doctors or nurses? An operation theatre or an ICU? Well, a lot more goes into the healthcare ecosystem than what we understand. Right from entering the hospital premises through recovery, there are numerous healthcare professionals involved at every step. An Emergency Care Assistant or Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is one of them.
In fact, an EMT is the first person who deals with a patient and decides the further course of action. The role of an Emergency Care Assistant in saving lives cannot be denied. If you also visualise yourself saving lives and playing a crucial role in healthcare, then this course is for you. If you find the profile interesting and wish to take it up as a career, you can enrol for an Emergency Care Assistant course.
However, it is a good idea to know what the industry holds for you as an EMT. Before joining this course, you must be aware of the responsibilities an EMT holds.
Here are the 5 major responsibilities of an emergency care assistant:
1. Patient assessment & pre-hospital care:
One of the primary and most critical jobs of an EMT is to analyse the condition of the patient and decide the further course of action before the patient can be admitted to the hospital. This is the preliminary examination and must be done quickly in order to take action in time.
An efficient assessment requires the EMT to stay calm, make use of their learning during the EMT training course and experience while handling patients. The initial assessment can be easy or complex based on the condition of the patient. Injuries can be relatively easy to assess and the patient is referred to the X-Ray department or any other vertical based on the situation for further action. There may be situations where the EMT may need to prioritize patients based on their condition and need for aid. This is where an EMT is expected to take critical decisions independently. It is a difficult situation that they learn to tackle in Emergency Care Assistant Training Program.
2. Prepare a preliminary record of the patient:
As soon as a patient comes in, the EMT must record the vital signs. These include:
- Level of consciousness or unconsciousness
- If the patient can communicate
- If their physical reflexes are working
- If the patient is breathing properly and live-saving tricks to help if breathing pattern is not normal
- Pulse status and frequency
- Colour of skin
- Temperature of skin
- Sweat levels
- Eye response to light
- Condition of pupils
- Blood pressure
Based on these vital readings, the EMT can analyze the level of care required by the patient and the type of first aid that needs to be given. Specialist intervention is also decided based on these readings.
3. Recording and assessing the medical history of the patient:
In medical terms, A SAMPLE history is a very important role of an EMT. It refers to-
S – Current signs and symptoms
A – Allergies
M – Medication history
P – Pertinent past medical history
L – Last oral intake (liquid as well as solid)
E – Events leading to injury/illness
These are recorded with help from attendants or the patients themselves and then collated with vitals to be forwarded to the specialists.
4. Moving the patient safely:
Properly moving the patient to the required ward or department is one of the major responsibilities of an EMT and is covered in all paramedic training courses. The training includes:
- Properly lifting and carrying patients so they stay safe
- Ensure own safety and avoid injuries
- Securing patient to the stretcher or other carry equipment
- Coordinating with other technicians to lift correctly and safely.
5. Stress management:
Emergency situations are high-stress scenarios that need to be tackled calmly. The EMT training courses include techniques to maintain composure in scenarios such as mass casualties, deaths, children injuries and deaths, co-worker deaths and injuries, etc.
To help you make a planned choice, I would like to highlight some of the course modules that are being covered. The course begins with basics on the critical roles and responsibilities of Emergency Care Assistant or EMT enabling students to understand the medical, and ethical issues pertaining to Emergency Care as well as workforce safety and wellness. This is typically followed with a deep dive into the hospital, its information system, safety guidelines and more. The student also imparted an understanding about anatomy, physiology, pathology, clinical pharmacology and emergency medications, equipment care, patient assessment, paediatric emergencies management of mass casualty incident and more.
There is a lot to learn as you gear up to be a part of this serving profession. Hope the above information will help you decide if you would like to join a Healthcare Sector Skill Council (HSSC) affiliated Emergency Care Assistant Course and make your mark in the healthcare sector.