What is the Difference Between an EMT and a Paramedic?

Emergency response teams and workers are vitally important to the operation of hospitals. While each state has their own specific rules and regulations for their response teams there is usually a mix of both EMTs and paramedics who participate as first responders. In today’s society many people might mistake an EMT and a paramedic as the same job, but there are actually many small differences in what these people can do based on the amount of training they’ve received.

In the majority of health care centers it is required that everyone in the first response team is EMT certified. They are specifically trained to handle medical emergencies. In this career an individual is certified for tasks such as giving oxygen, performing CPR, and using auto-injectors (for allergic reactions). They are specifically trained for pre-hospital tasks. While on the job they will wait for preliminary information and be expected to communicate with dispatchers while understanding and following the provided directions. Carrying and lifting is a necessity for people interested in this field of work because EMTs are often expected to place patients on stretchers and carry them onto an ambulance. When they are not working as first responders they may assist in transferring patients from one health center to another.

Paramedics, however, are more knowledgeable and trained versions of EMTs. Depending on the specific programs and degrees they have obtained they may have an extensive background in anatomy, cardiology, and important medical procedures on top of the basic tasks. Individuals in this career can handle advanced treatment and on-the-scene treatment as well as the knowledge and resources to perform life stabilizing procedures. This can include finding ways to stabilize back and neck injuries and administer medications and IV fluids. With their in depth training and medical knowledge they are able to analyze situations on the spot and assess situations in quick time. That is why becoming a paramedic requires so much training; they are expected to work efficiently and on their feet during dire emergencies such as car crashes and/or crime scene.

One of the main differences between the two lines of work comes down to the procedures they are allowed to perform. EMTs are not allowed to rupture or break a patient’s skin under any conditions (they can, however, administer asthma treatments and such). On the other side paramedics do have the training and education to make small incisions and administer shots. While they work hand-in-hand in the ambulance and on emergency response teams there is a hierarchy based on training and schooling. With some added time in the classroom and practice seminars any EMT has the ability to become a paramedic.

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