|Certificate Level I|
Emergency Medical Services: Paramedic
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Are you interested in a rewarding, challenging and fast-paced medical field that will always have job openings? One where you can truly make a difference in people’s lives in their time of greatest need? Can you think on your feet and make accurate decisions quickly? Are you good at talking to people, even in stressful situations? Do you keep a level head under pressure? Then Howard College's Emergency Medical Services and Paramedic certificate program could be for you.
The biggest differences between emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics are the training and the scope of what they are allowed to do. Basic EMTs usually receive from 150 to more than 200 hours of training, while paramedics receive at least 1,000 hours of training. In other words, a paramedic is also an EMT (since he or she has had to complete EMT-basic training to get to EMT-paramedic training), but an EMT is not a paramedic.
EMT and paramedic training can be used in a wide variety of careers where emergency medicine is required. Get started working on your certification today!
What does being a Paramedic entail?
The Paramedic must be a confident leader who can accept the challenge and high degree of responsibility entailed in the position. The Paramedic must have excellent judgment and be able to prioritize decisions and act quickly in the best interest of the patient, must be self disciplined, able to develop patient rapport, interview hostile patients, maintain safe distance, and recognize and utilize communication unique to diverse multicultural groups and ages within those groups. Must be able to function independently at optimum level in a non-structured environment that is constantly changing.
Even though the Paramedic is generally part of a two-person team generally working with a lower skill and knowledge level Basic EMT, it is the Paramedic who is held responsible for safe and therapeutic administration of drug including narcotics. Therefore, the Paramedic must not only be knowledge about medications but must be able to apply this knowledge in a practical sense. Knowledge and practical application of medications include thoroughly knowing and understanding the general properties of all types of drugs. The Paramedic is personally responsible, legally, ethically and morally for each drug administered, for using correct precautions and techniques, observing and documenting the effects of the drugs administered, keeping one' own pharmacological knowledge-base current as to changes and trends in administration and use, keeping abreast of all contraindications to administration of specific drugs to patients based on their constitutional make-up, and using drug reference literature. The responsibility of the Paramedic includes obtaining a comprehensive drug history from the patient that includes name of drugs, strength, daily usage and dosage. The paramedic must take into consideration that many factors, in relation to the history given, can affect the type of medication to be given.
The paramedic must be able to apply knowledge and skills to assist overdosed patients to overcome trauma through antidotes, and have knowledge of poisons and be able to administer treatment. The paramedic must be knowledgeable as to the stages drugs/medications go through once they have entered the patient's system and be cognizant that route of administration is critical in relation to patient's needs and the effect that occurs.
The Paramedic must also be capable of providing advanced life support emergency medical services to patients including conducting of and interpreting electrocardiograms (EKGs), electrical interventions to support the cardiac functions, performing advanced endotracheal intubations in airway management and relief of pneumothorax and administering of appropriate intravenous fluids and drugs under direction of off-site designated physician.
The Paramedic is a person who must not only remain calm while working in difficult and stressful circumstances, but must be capable of staying focus while assuming the leadership role inherent in carrying out the functions of the position. Good judgment along with advanced knowledge and technical skills are essential in directing other team members to assist as needed. The Paramedic must be able to provide top quality care, concurrently handle high levels of stress, and be willing to take on the personal responsibility required of the position. This includes not only all legal ramifications for precise documentation, but also the responsibility for using the knowledge and skills acquired in real life threatening emergency situations.
The Paramedic must be able to deal with adverse and often dangerous situations which include responding to calls in districts known to have high crime and mortality rates. Self-confidence is critical, as is a desire to work with people, solid emotional stability, a tolerance for high stress, and the ability to meet the physical, intellectual, and cognitive requirements demanded by this position.
Aptitudes required for work of this nature are good physical stamina, endurance, and body condition that would not be adversely affected by frequently having to walk, stand, lift, carry, and balance at times, in excess of 125 pounds. Motor coordination is necessary because over uneven terrain, the patient's, the Paramedic's and other worker's well being must not be jeopardized.
Employment opportunities for EMTs and paramedics are expected to grow much faster than average — 21 percent or more — through 2016, as full-time paid EMTs and paramedics replace unpaid volunteers.
Job opportunities include working with:
- Private ambulance services
- Fire departments
- Police departments
- Emergency 911 services
Course Information: Howard College Catalog