Sunday, September 5, 2010

What Is The Difference Between An EMT And A Paramedic

Online EMT and Paramedic Practice Exams

I'm often asked the difference between an EMT and a Paramedic. EMT's are considered BLS or basic life support providers. Paramedics are considered ALS or advanced life support providers. I can still hear you asking what the difference is. Here is the rundown.

There are several levels of care. 1. First Responders. This is the most basic level of care. First Responders know CPR and first aid. The job of the First Responder is to provide simple but immediate care until more advanced help arrives. Many police officers and volunteer firefighters are First Responders.

2. EMT-B (When the new federal changes go through, this will be called EMT). The EMT-Basic provides a higher level of care. The EMT-B has more in depth training. The EMT-B takes courses in pharmacology that allow the basic to assist in drug administration. The EMT-B is also allowed in most states to use advanced airways such as the Combitube or King Airway. These allow the EMT-B to secure the airway when a patient isn't breathing. The EMT-B is the lowest level of care allowed to transport a patient in most states.

3. EMT-I (When the new federal changes go through, this will be called the EMT Advanced). The EMT Intermediate provides all the care listed above, but is also able to provide IV therapy. This allows the intermediate to give fluids to treat shock, dextrose to treat diabetics, and to simply provide intravenous access for use by a paramedic or nurse at the hospital.

4.EMT-P. The paramedic. The word paramedic in Latin means before the hospital. Thats what they do. They provide the top of the line pre-hospital care to patients. Paramedics have longer training than the EMT. They are able to administer medications to relieve pain, help the heart, stop seizures, and treat the lungs. The paramedic receives a longer course in cardiology and can use and interpret heart monitors. Medics can also intubate. This is the practice of inserting a tube directly into the trachea to secure the airway of a person who is not breathing.

To sum it up, paramedics have more training and the ability to administer more drugs and the most advanced airways. This takes nothing away from the role of the EMT. Many calls can be run by EMTs alone. Childbirth is considered a BLS or EMT level call. One thing to consider is that with the paramedics advanced training comes more liability, and more responsibility.

I'm an EMT myself. I like to think of myself as my medic's hands free kit. I love my job. I get to help my community, and be in the center of the action.

Are you in an EMT training course? Here are some Online EMT and Paramedic Practice Tests

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